To make really good Hot Crossers is a little fiddly and more than a little sticky in so many ways. The result is worth it!
Hot Crossed Buns
Even if it is once a year, banish those store bought buns and turn your hand to baking some. Easter is a long weekend and it could rain or even snow. So, take your time and get baking!
- 50 g Sugar
- 150 g Strong wholewheat flour
- 300 g Plain white flour
- 2 g Instant yeast 4.5 g dried, 9 g fresh
- 250 g Butter (unsalted)
- 1 Egg
- 9 g Salt
- 250 g Sultanas
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Mixed ground spice
- 1 tsp Ginger
- 1/2 tsp Ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp All spice
- 50 g Strong white flour
- Pinch Baking powder
- 1.2 tsp Vegetable oil Olive, sunflower
- 50 g Cold water
Making the dough
- Put the dried fruit in a little bowl and just cover them in water (or in rum or brandy or in cold tea if you would like a grown-up hot cross bun). Give them a little stir every once in a while.
- Measure the flour in a big mixing bowl and mix it up by hand. Make a big well in it. Sprinkle in the yeast and the sugar. Pour over the milk that you have heated up and cooled down. Flick a thin layer of flour over the milk to close the well and leave it for one hour.
- Add the egg, salt, and spices and knead well for 10 minutes. The mixture will be sticky but don’t let that stop you. Use a scraper and use it to gather all the dough up as you knead. Add the butter and knead it in for another 10 minutes. It won’t get less sticky!
- Pop it back in the bowl, cover it with a tea towel and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Drain the fruit, reserving the liquid, and incorporate the fruit into the dough with your hands. Don’t worry about the dough – it will recover. Just don’t squish the fruit or you get brown smeary bits in the dough!
- Pop the dough back into the bowl, cover it and let it rest for 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
- When the dough has risen, scrape it out onto onto the counter. Don’t put any flour down as you will need a sticky surface to shape the buns.
Shaping the buns
- Divide the dough into blobs about 75 grams in weight. Flour your hands (not the dough) and make tight rolls by rolling the blobs around on the counter. Use the counter as a "sticking point" and rotate the buns around by moving your hand either clock wise or counter clock wise. The bun sticks to the counter and this stickiness pulls the surface of the bun around itself to shape it into a tight ball. Don’t flour the counter to do this or else the buns won't stick, they will just slide around. They dough is really soft – don't worry about that – just gently make little balls as best you can. It takes some practice!
- As you make the balls, transfer them to a baking tray that you have lined with non sitck parchment. Snuggle them against one another as this makes them easier to "cross".
- Cover them with a tea towel and let them rest for 45 minutes. As they are resting, mix together the crossing mixture.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
- Spoon the crossing mixture into a piping bag or a sturdy plastic bag. If you are using a plastic bag, snip a small hole in one of the bottom corners.
- When the buns are ready for the oven, pipe the crossing mixture over the top and pop them in the oven for 18-20 minutes.
- As the buns are baking, boil the liquid in which the fruit was soaking until it is a thick syrup.
- While the buns are still hot, glaze them with this syrup.
- Let them cool fully on a cooling rack.
- Eat. Yum.