Hot Cross Buns

Ingredients for 12 Buns 

500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon 
75g/2 ½ oz caster sugar
150g/5oz mixed dried fruit e.g. 
raisins, sultanas, currants, 
80g/3oz chopped mixed peel
1 orange, zest only
7g sachet of dried yeast
300ml/10floz tepid milk
50g/2oz melted butter
1 medium egg (beaten)

Topping

2 tbsp. plain flour
1tsp. sugar
1dsp apricot jam or marmalade for glaze

Mix the flour, salt, mixed spice, cinnamon, sugar and dried fruit, mixed peel, orange zest, together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Crumble the yeast into a small bowl, cream it to a smooth liquid with the milk and the butter. Pour this yeast mixture into the well in the flour mix. Add the egg and mix the ingredients together in the well. Gradually work in the flour to make a very soft but not sticky dough. If the dough appears too dry work in a little more milk, if too sticky a little more flour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured table and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elasticy. Return to the bowl, cover and leave to rise at room temperature until doubled in size. Once again turn the dough out onto a lightly floured table and gently knead it for 5 minutes. 

Divide the mix into 12 equal amounts then shape into neat rolls and arrange on baking trays. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to prove in a warm place until they have almost doubled in size. Pre-heat the oven to 220c/425f/gas 7. 

Mix the ingredients for the topping together to make a smooth but thick paste. Fill into a piping bag. Using the back of a knife mark a cross on the top of each bun, then pipe the cross with the flour paste.

Place the buns into the pre-heated oven and reduce the heat to 200c/400f/gas 6 and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Brush with the jam/marmalade melted with a little water to give each one a nice sweet shine. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Eat cold or warm with plenty of butter.

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