While racking my brain for Easter recipes this week, I had to think about all the food I associate with Easter. There’s the classic ham and all the fixings; the copious amount of chocolate eggs; then there’s hot cross buns. This sounds terrible, but I know that it’s almost Easter when I pass by a Cobs Bakery and see their sign for fresh hot cross buns. Now they don’t make the traditional hot cross buns, but they do have wonderful flavours such as chocolate chip and orange-cranberry. They’re dangerous.
There are many stories about the significance of hot cross buns, and the mark of the cross along the top. The most consistent fact about these tasty morsels, is that they’re traditionally consumed on Good Friday but can also be enjoyed throughout the weekend.
Traditional hot cross buns
350g strong white bread flour
100f strong wholemeal bread flour
50g icing sugar
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp nutmeg
1x7g packet instant dry yeast
50g unsalted butter, diced
125g mixed dried fruit
200 ml lukewarm milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
For the cross:
4 tbsp strong white bread flour
2 tbsp cold water
For the glaze
4 tbsp milk
2 tbsp icing sugar
- Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix until combined.
- Add the diced butter and crumble until it looks like fine bread crumbs.
- Stir in the dried fruit.
- Stir the wet ingredients together and pour into the centre of the well. Using your hands, or an electric dough hook on the lowest possible speed, work the mixture together to make a soft but not sticky dough.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Once it feels firmer, smooth and elastic, place back into the bowl and cover with a damp dish cloth to rise until doubled in size. About one hour at room temperature.
- Punch down the dough, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface, cutting it into 12 equal portions. Using your hands, roll each portion into a ball and set well apart of a lined baking sheet.
- Place the sheet into a large plastic bag (a clean garbage bag works well), inflate the bag and seal leaving the dough to rise at room temperature until almost doubled in size; about 40-50 minutes, or overnight in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- To make the cross, mix the flour with the cold water until it forms a smooth thick paste. Place into a piping bag with a circular piping tip. Uncover the buns once they have risen and mark the tops by piping an X. Snip the ends of each line at the end of their mark.
- Bake in the oven for 15 mins, until golden brown.
- Meanwhile, combined milk and sugar in a pan until the sugar dissolves. Boil for one minute and then brush over the buns as soon as they’re removed from the oven.
- Best enjoyed fresh, with butter, jam and cheese!