Hot cross buns

IMG_1841Growing up, I was not a fan of hot cross buns. I was never quite comfortable with the prospect of consuming citrus peel (to this day I’m awfully wary of marmalade), and while I remember seeing the buns creep onto the shelves in late March each year, my interest stopped there. At the same time, I remember my mom being incredibly fond of the treats, so when I saw this recipe from the Fabulous Baker Brothers that called only for citrus rind, I figured they must be onto something. And I couldn’t have been more right!

What you’ll need

For the buns

IMG_1830680g strong white flour plus extra for dusting
14g (2 sachets) fast-action dried yeast
10g salt
100g golden caster sugar
80g soft unsalted butter
15g mixed spice
175ml whole milk (warm)
175ml water (warm)
1 egg
150g sultanas
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange

For the cross

100g strong white flour
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
25g butter, melted
125g water

For the bun wash

75mL boiling water
1tbsp caster sugar
pinch of mixed spice

What to do

IMG_1831For the buns

Combine the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, butter, mixed spice, milk, water and egg in a large bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon, adding a couple of more tablespoons of water if you’re having trouble combining all of the dry ingredients. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured countertop and knead until smooth (this should take about 15 minutes).

Next, add the grated zest and sultanas to the dough and knead again until mixed through (this is slightly more easily said than done).

After giving the bowl a quick wash out, transfer the dough back to it, cover with a damp tea towel or plastic bag and leave to prove in a warm place for about 40 minutes or until it’s doubled in size.

In the meantime, line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper. Once the dough has risen, divide it in half, in half again and in half again until you’re left with 16 even pieces.

IMG_1832Using your hands, shape the pieces of dough into round balls and arrange on the baking sheet, if possible in rows. There should be about a finger’s width of space between them. Cover the trays again and leave in a warm place to prove for a further 40 minutes, or until they have doubled in size again.

Preheat the oven to 210ºC/fan190ºC/410ºF.

IMG_1839For the cross

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Using electric beaters or some vigorous wrist action, whisk in the butter and water until you have a smooth batter. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag (I don’t have one so used a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off instead).

Once you’ve removed the buns from the oven, cross the buns with the batter. If the buns are lined up in rows, you should be able to cross each row in one fell swoop.

Pop the buns in the oven for about 15 minutes or until they’re golden brown.

IMG_1841For the bun wash

While the buns are in the oven, mix the boiling water, sugar and mixed spice in a mug until dissolved and set aside.

Once the buns are ready, whip them out of the oven, and without losing any time, brush the bun wash over them all.

Leave to cool a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack. Otherwise, if you plan to enjoy them right away, get the butter ready and tuck in!

Many thanks to the Fabulous Baker Brothers for this delicious Easter recipe. View more great recipes from Hobbs House Bakery here.

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