Hot cross buns are buns marked with a cross on the top and traditionally eaten on Good Friday in many countries. These spiced sweet buns with sticky glaze on top and dried fruit inside are simply irresistible!
Guys, if you haven’t tried hot cross buns, now is your chance! Don’t be put off by the fact that these delicious buns are made with yeast.
I also know that making hot cross buns takes a bit longer than other recipes but most of the time is a passive time. This means you can use this free time to clean the house, prepare dinner or make this Irish Soda Bread.
I’ve tried a few recipes so far and finally found what works for me. This is a slightly changed version of the original hot cross buns recipe from BBC website. I omitted a few ingredients including butter and reduced the amount of dried fruit.
USEFUL TIPS, INFORMATION AND WHAT I HAVE LEARNED AFTER BAKING THEM SEVERAL TIMES:
Most hot cross bun recipes use butter as one of the ingredients. I baked the buns with and also without butter and it didn’t affect the taste at all. There was a slight difference in texture but nothing major.
The amount of dried fruit and also its type is totally up to you. No matter how much fruit you add they will turn out yummy! The amount I stated in the recipe is the amount that works well for me. I like dried fruits but to a certain point – not too much! Feel free to add more, if you wish!
The crosses – now I wouldn’t have thought that making flour crosses over the buns could turn out a bit different than expected (maybe it wasn’t a wise move – doing it for the first time on the video)!
Well, so what I have learned is that even though my flour mixture looked thick enough, coming out of the piping bag – well, it was a different story! I knew right then that it should have been thicker, but didn’t like the thought of too floury taste.
So guess what? The crosses were almost invisible after baking, and well, were not white-ish but more brown-ish, which I didn’t like. SO I stick to my icing sugar crosses – which will always look better. Of course, if you are after authentic – then the flour mixture is the way to go!
What about freezing hot cross buns?
Yes! Freeze them! Put them in a zip-lock back or wrap in tin foil and freeze! Take out as many as needed – they will defrost in an hour or two. Throw them in a microwave or toast them and they’ll taste divine!
No mixed spice?
No problem! Use a combination of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg instead! They will still taste like hot cross buns.
Yes, please! Using cookie cutters is a great way how to maintain similar size which is important for baking.
Size: Don’t be tempted using a large cookie cutters – bear in mind you will let them rise again afterwards and they will also rise in the oven! You can also weigh the first one and cut out similar ones – or just roll then by hand (1.7oz/50g is a good weight).
Glazing hot cross buns
There are a few possibilities here such as honey, apricot jam or sugar dissolved in water so no need to run to shop to get for example honey, if you have Apricot Jam in your pantry.
They all will give your buns nice shiny look.
Want to see how to make Hot Cross Buns? Watch the video!
Hot Cross Buns
- 1.3 pounds Plain Flour (625 grams)
- 3 fl oz Milk (275 ml)
- 2.7 ounces Caster Sugar (80 grams)
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 2 teaspoons Ground Mixed Spice
- 0.7 ounces Fresh Yeast or 1½ tsp fast-action (20 grams)
- 1 Medium Egg
- 3 ounces Mixed Dried Fruit (85 grams)
For the Crosses:
- Icing Sugar (about 6 tablespoons) mixed with water
- Plain Flour (about 6 tablespoons) mixed with water
For the Glaze:
- Honey (about 2 tablespoons) mixed with a little water
- First pour milk into two mugs. Take one mug and heat it up in the microwave for a few seconds (the milk can’t be too cold or too hot – lukewarm is the right temperature). Add fresh yeast and a tablespoon of sugar. Mix. In the second mug, mix the milk with one egg until well combined. Set both mugs aside for later.
- Sift the flour in a large bowl. Add caster sugar, salt, ground mixed spice and mix until well combined. Pour in the content of both mugs (make sure the fresh yeast has formed a foam – if not, then wait a bit longer). Now using a wooden spoon combine all the ingredients. Transfer onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes to get elastic dough.
- Grease the same bowl with some oil and place the dough in. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
- Once the dough has risen, transfer it onto the floured surface and using your fist, knock it down. Now add dried fruit in the middle of the dough and start bringing the edges towards the middle (like if you wanted to cover the fruits). Start kneading slowly and knead until the fruits have moved around and you see them coming out (You should be able to see or feel that the fruit is spread throughout the dough).
- When ready, stretch and flatten the dough (use a rolling pin, if needed). Using a cookie cutter cut out about 15-18 pieces. Roll them into balls. If you end up with cut offs simply form balls out of them.
- Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and cover with a kitchen towel. Let them rise for 1 hour.
- Once risen, you can either make crosses with flour (and water) or wait until they are cooked and use icing sugar (and water) instead. In both cases the mixtures should be quite thick but still easy to pipe (always use less water than flour/sugar).
- Bake them in a preheated oven at 400°F/200°C for 15 minutes or until baked through.
- Serve cold, warm or toasted with butter & jam!