Best served warm, these are a true seasonal delight.
Hot Cross BunsServes: 12
Ingredients:675g (1 1/2 lb) strong, white, bread flour
1 tsp salt
80g (3 oz) butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice (pumpkin pie spice)
1/4 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
55g (2 oz) caster sugar
200g (7 oz) mixed dried fruit
25g (1 oz) candied peel, chopped
1 sachet (about 7g [1/4 oz]) active, dried, yeast
325ml warm milk (1 1/3 cups) warm milk
For the Glaze and Crosses2 tbsp sugar
125g (1/2 cup, heaped) icing sugar
a few drops of vanilla extract
Method:For the buns, sift the flour and salt together into a mixing bowl. Dice the butter, add to the flour mix and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the spices, sugar, dried fruit, candied peel and yeast then stir to combine.
Form a well in the centre of the mixture then beat together the milk and the eggs and pour into this well. Mix thoroughly to bring the ingredients together as a soft dough then turn onto a floured work surface. Knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic then form into a ball. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn to coat then cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) or a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes.
After this time, turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured work surface and knead lightly for a few minutes to knock out any large air bubbles. Divide into 12 pieces and shape these into buns.
Grease a baking tray and arrange the dough pieces well apart on the tray. Cover loosely with greased clingfilm (plastic wrap) and set aside in a warm place for about 45 minutes to rise, or until doubled in size.
Remove the covering then transfer to an oven pre-heated to 200ºC (400ºF, Gas Mark 6) and bake the buns for between 15 and 20 minutes, or until nicely risen and golden brown.
For the glaze, heat 1 tbsp water in a pan with the 2 tbsp sugar until the sugar melts. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes, or until syrupy. As soon as the buns emerge from the oven brush with the glaze then set aside on a wire rack to cool.
For the crosses, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla and just enough water to form a thick, smooth, coating of icing. Spoon or pipe the icing into crosses on top of the buns then put aside to set.
Serve warm or cold (they can be toasted, warmed in the microwave or gently warmed in the oven).
For hundreds more classic Easter Recipes from across the globe, why not visit the Celtnet Easter recipes and information page.