Have you ever made delicious hot cross buns?
These Easter treats are soft, slightly sweet, spiced yeast rolls speckled with currants and sometimes candied citron. They're marked with a cross on top (hence the name), which signifies a crucifix, and they are usually eaten on Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday. However, if you're reading this and it's not Good Friday, you're in luck as Queen Elizabeth I's 1592 decree that they can only be eaten on Good Friday, Christmas, and at funerals is no longer enforced. You can enjoy them as often as you like, and with whoever you like.
Hot Cross Buns (Makes 12)
For the Buns
• 1 tablespoon of dried yeast, active
• 1 teaspoon of sugar
• 4 1/4 fl oz of water, warm
• 12 1/3 oz of strong white flour
• 3 1/2 oz of strong wholemeal flour
• 1 /2 teaspoon of salt
• 2 teaspoons of mixed spice
• 1 3/4 oz of caster sugar
• 2 2/3 oz of sultanas
• 2 2/3 oz of mixed peel
• 4 1/4 fl oz of milk, warm
• 1 3/4 oz of butter, melted
• 1 egg, beaten
For the Piping Paste
• 4 tablespoons of flour, white, but unbleached
• 1 tablespoon of caster sugar
• 2 tablespoons of water, cold
For the Glazes
• 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of milk to make an egg wash
• 2 tablespoons of sugar
• 2 tablespoons of water
1. Combine the dried yeast and sugar in a bowl, then whisk in the warm water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for around 10-15 minutes, until frothy.
2. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl, then mix in the salt, sugar, spice and sultanas.
3. Create a well in the middle of the ingredients and use your hands to mix in the frothy yeast mixture. Mix well in order to make a sticky dough.
4. Scatter some flour over a work surface and place the dough on top. Knead with your hands for 5 minutes, or until the dough has become smooth.
5. Grease a bowl with some oil and add the ball of dough. Top the bowl with plastic wrap and let it prove in a warm place for 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size.
6. Lightly re-dust the work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Knead gently, then roll into a long sausage-shape. Split into 12 even-sized pieces, roll each piece of dough into a ball.
7. Place the balls on a lined baking tray, spacing them so that they are close but not touching. Set aside in a warm place for 45 minutes, or until they have doubled in size.
8. Meanwhile, make the piping paste and preheat the oven to 428°F.
9. To make the egg wash, beat together the milk and egg yolk.
10. When the buns have finished proving, use a blunt knife to make a cross-shaped indentation on each one. Use a pastry brush to coat with egg wash, then pipe the crosses into the indentations.
11. Bake the buns for around 20 minutes, until they are nicely golden and sound hollow when tapped.
12. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Add the water and sugar to a pan and dissolve over a low heat. As soon as the buns are ready, remove from the oven and brush with the glaze. Allow to cool a bit before serving.