WORDS:: Chyka Keebaugh
PHOTOS:: Lisa Atkinson
Hot cross buns are one of my favourite things at this time of year. Instead of buying them, why not try making your own?
I have made my fair share and each of them have been smothered in butter and devoured! So delicious. They are the perfect answer if you are stuck for an Easter gift. Why not bake for your friends and loved ones? Wrap them in a gorgeous tea towel and ribbon and you are done!
In the lead up to Easter I like to try out different versions of the traditional recipe to find a favourite. Changing up the dried fruit content, testing out new ways of baking - I love having the time to play in the kitchen like this and my family loved being the taste testers! Here's a traditional recipe I have tweaked to my liking...
- 2 x 7g sachet dried yeast
- 455g bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 whole nutmeg
- 55g caster sugar
- 2 pieces stem ginger
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 55g mixed currants
- 30g dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons mixed peel
- Honey for glazing
- 200ml semi-skimmed milk
- 55g unsalted butter
- Add the milk and 50ml water to a small pan and place over a low heat for a few minutes, or until slightly warm - you should be able to dip your finger in without scalding it.
- Meanwhile, add the butter to a separate pan and place over a low heat for a few minutes, or until melted, then set aside.
- Transfer the warmer milk mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the yeast. Set aside.
- Sift the flour into a large bowl and add salt, spices and a few good strappings of nutmeg and sugar. Finely chop the stem ginger and stir into the mix.
- Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter, followed by the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl beat the egg and add to the mixture.
- Using a fork, mix well until you have a rough dough, then transfer to a clean flour dusted work surface and knead for around 10mins or until soft and springy.
- Return the dough to a flour-dusted bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for at least an hour, or until doubled in size.
- Transfer the dough to a clean flour dusted work surface. Knock the air out by bashing it with your fist, then sprinkle over the dried fruit and mixed peel and knead the dough for 1-2mins.
- Preheat the oven to 190c or 375f. Grease and line a large baking tray.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into balls. Evenly space them out on a lined baking tray as you go.
- Cover the tea towel and leave in a warm place for a further 30mins, or until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, place the plain flour and two tablespoons of water into a small bowl and mix to a thick paste.
- Gently pat down the risen buns then use the batter to carefully trace a cross over the top with a piping bag or spoon.
- Place the bus into the preheated oven for 15-20mins, or until golden brown.
- Transfer to a wire cooling rack, brush over with a little honey and leave to cool.
- Slice open the sticky hot cross buns, spread with a little butter and any tops you deserve (raspberry jam for me!) and serve. Delicious.