Friday, March 29, 2013

Hot Cross Buns

I actually made these Hot Cross Buns last weekend during my baking extravaganza when all I wanted to do was be inside the warmth of a kitchen keeping out of the cold. But I thought I'd share them with you today as it's Good Friday and  if we're sticking with tradition, that's when you should be eating them. Not that tradition usually dictates when I eat something! I'd be happy to eat Hot Cross Buns all year round, but there is something special about saving them for Easter. Anyway, enough rambling about when we eat Hot Cross Buns, because in all honesty it doesn't make a bit of difference because they always taste delicious. That's if you choose the right recipe of course. And this recipe that I found ticked all the right boxes for me!

This was the first time I'd made Hot Cross Buns, but they're actually really quite easy to make, so it definitely won't be the last. And I've had a shop-bought one since and it just didn't quite compare. I seem to have turned into some kind of Hot Cross Bun snob! They did not contain anywhere near enough raisins and I could hardly taste the orange and lemon candied peel. Disgraceful! No, but seriously, this recipe I found over on Poires au Chocolat (which is a brilliant Food Blog, I must say!) was just perfect. Beautifully spiced, plenty of fruit and just the right Hot Cross Bun sort of texture. And they tasted wonderful toasted with a generous layer of butter. And a bit of raspberry jam too if you're feeling extravagant.  

I've always been intrigued as well how they make the iconic cross on top. Well now I know. All you need is some flour and water which you make into a paste and pipe in a cross shape on top. It's as easy as that. Actually, I think there are probably several ways of making it, but this method was pretty simple and looked effective too. As for the rest of the recipe, that was pretty straight forward as well. All you need is a bit of patience like all yeast-related things as you wait for them to prove. And the candied peel was a little faffy, but there's no question that it was worth it. They kept surprisingly well too, especially when popped in the toaster. A perfect start to your day or a lovely Easter snack! Well, not necessarily Easter. Just give them a go anyway, because they tasted divine. 

Hot Cross Buns (makes 16)

For the candied peel:
1 Orange
1/2 Lemon
100ml Water
100g Granulated Sugar
For the dough:
225ml milk
50g Caster Sugar
7g Dried Instant Yeast
450g Strong White Bread Flour
1tsp Salt
1tsp Cinnamon
1/2tsp Ground Ginger
1/4tsp Nutmeg
1/2tsp Salt
100g Raisins
1 Egg, beaten
50g Butter
For the crosses:
1tbsp Plain Flour
1tbsp Water


  1. Begin by melting the butter in a pan along with the milk.
  2. Turn the heat up until the milk starts steaming.
  3. Pour into a bowl to cool.
  4. To make the candied peel, use a vegetable peeler to take bits of peel off the orange and lemon.
  5. Cut into small strips about 2-3mm.
  6. Place in a pan and cover with about 3-4cm of water.
  7. Bring to the boil and let bubble for a few minutes until the water turns yellow. 
  8. Strain into a bowl, draining the bitter yellow water away.
  9. Repeat the process twice.
  10. Combine the sugar and water in a pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. 
  11. Turn up the heat and add the peel.
  12. Let it bubble until the skin becomes translucent, which should take between 8 and 10 minutes.
  13. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and drain the peel, but keep the syrup as well.
  14. To make the dough, sift the flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon, ginger, salt and nutmeg into a bowl.
  15. Stir the peel into the milk.
  16. Add the raisins, peel and milk into the bowl and stir until it comes together.
  17. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and bouncy.
  18. Place the dough into a large well-oiled bowl and cover with cling film, then leave somewhere warm until it doubles in size. 
  19. Turn the dough out again onto a floured surface and punch down.
  20. Cut into 16 pieces and shape into balls.
  21. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and arrange the buns on it.
  22. Cover with cling film and leave to prove again until puffy for about 45 minutes.
  23. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  24. Combine the flour with the water until it forms a paste, then scoop into a piping bag.
  25. Uncover the buns and pipe crosses onto them with the paste.
  26. Bake for 15-20 minutes until they are golden and hollow when tapped.
  27. Brush the syrup left over from the peel on top of the buns.
  28. Toast, spread with a generous layer of butter and enjoy!

Best served toasted with a generous layer of butter! 


  1. I can almost taste the spices! I have always been curious about the cross and now I know! Looking forward to your first home bake. Maman x

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