Saturday, 6 April 2013

One ha' Penny, Two ha' Penny (Hot Cross Buns)

I've been meaning to make hot cross buns for years, but somehow never got round to it. The Easter holidays is always full of birthdays and revision for me, and so baking always seemed to get knocked down the 'to do' list until it was suddenly no longer Easter and I felt like I couldn't make them.

Just look at all that sticky goodness. Also, I know they look a bit over-baked but I promise you they don't taste burned and are amazing and you should make them. So there. I adapted Paul Hollywood's recipe, because even though I'd never made them before I still can't just follow a recipe. And my version really is brilliant (if I do say so myself).

Ingredients:  (makes 12)
- 300ml milk
- 375g strong white flour
- 225g strong wholemeal flour
- 75g caster sugar
- 1tsp salt
- 7g sachet fast-action yeast
- 60g butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- 125g mixed fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants... that sort of thing)
- 75g mixed peel
- zest of 1 orange
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2tsp ground cinnamon
- 1tsp grated nutmeg
- sunflower oil, for greasing the bowl
- 50g plain flour mixed with 5tbsp water (for the cross)
- 2tbsp apricot jam mixed with 1tbsp water (for the glaze) 

1. Warm the milk until it starts to boil, then remove from the heat and let it cool to hand temperature.
2. Mix the butter, egg, flours, sugar, salt and yeast together in a bowl. No fancy rubbing or creaming or anything like that, just bung it all in and stir a bit. Try and make sure the salt and yeast don't go straight on top of each other though - salt kills yeast, so if you do that your buns won't rise.
3. Add half of the warm milk and stir, then gradually add the rest. You won't necessarily need all of it - just use enough to bind it all together. Also, don't worry if it's really sticky. It's meant to be. Trust.
4. Add the mixed fruit, peel, spices and zest, then tip out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for about five minutes (holding the dough with one hand and using the heel of the other to stretch it), 'til smooth and elastic-y, then place it in a lightly oiled bowl (covered with oiled cling film) and put it in the airing cupboard/somewhere warm to rise for an hour.

Before and after rising. Possibly my favourite bit.
5. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces, and roll each piece into a ball. Arrange on a baking tray that's either been greased or lined with baking parchment, so that when they rise again they'll just be touching. Let prove for another hour (I got distracted and proving time here was more like two hours, but it was all fine, so don't worry if you do something similar).
6. Turn on your oven to 220°C at this point, then make up the mixture for your crosses - literally just stir the flour and water in a bowl. Grab yourself a plastic sandwich bag and spoon in the mixture, twisting the top. Cut a small hole in one of the corners, and use it as a piping bag. Pipe across a whole row of buns (rather than doing one at a time), then go the other way to give crosses.

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven 'til golden brown. Enjoy the brief period of being able to tell your boyfriend you have a bun in the oven and making him laugh/run away screaming (depends on your boyfriend I suppose. Thankfully mine laughed).
8. In a small pan, heat the apricot jam and water 'til they're all mixed together and quite runny. Brush the buns with the glaze as soon as they're out the oven, then let cool and set before ripping apart to serve - if the people in your house can wait that long.

Happy Easter, all.


  1. Yum!! Never thought to use jam in the glaze so shall def try that next time. I always spend an age rolling & cutting out crosses for tops too - piping sounds so much less time consuming.

    An idea... I tend to soak any raisins/sultanas etc in orange juice for an hour or so beforehand so they're a bit softer and zingy :)

    1. Glad to be of help! And soaking the fruit sounds a great idea - suppose you could also do them in brandy or tea for different flavours too! Ooooh so much yumminess

  2. All of your food seems so yummy :D I want now T_T
    I'm gonna try the hot cross bun recipe sometime this week, I'm getting a crave for some of them thanks to your post :D