Our good friend & talented baker Christine has been working tirelessly not only lambing, but also testing out Hot Cross Bun recipes for you! She has found and perfected the perfect recipe just in time for Easter break and cosy teatimes with your family. Allow time for three proves, around 3-4 hours, but they are quick to bake!
It has even been tested by her shepherds and the feedback was - "A big thumbs up! ‘Nice and fruity’!"
Christine's tips! - "I put the buns in a plastic bag once cooled. The day after they were still lovely and soft & seemed to taste even better! Good to know they keep well as my previous attempts were going harder as the days passed. They are lovely toasted! The traditional pastry cross was a vast improvement on the flour and water cross. I think I’d be lazy next time and just mark with a knife!"
You may need...
500g of strong white flour
75g of caster sugar
10g of fast acting yeast
10g of salt
1 Tsp mixed spice
1 Tsp cinnamon
About 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
40g of unsalted butter - softened
2 Large free range eggs - lightly beaten
150 ml of milk
50-75 ml of water - depending on size of eggs (see method, No.3)
225g of dried fruit - 75g chopped mixed peel, 75g sultanas & 75g currants
50g of chopped dried apricots
The zest of a lemon and an orange
Right, lets get cooking!
Measure out your milk & butter. Put the butter to soften on the back of your hob and warm the milk in the simmering oven gently.
Measure out the fruit with the citrus zest into a small bowl, and pop all the other dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Beat the eggs until well combined.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the luke warm milk, beaten eggs and butter. Draw ingredients together and gradually add water to form a soft, sticky dough. Christine uses large eggs so finds 50 ml of fluid sufficient. Knead for 5-10 minutes until smoother and elastic, although the dough may still stick to the work surface. TIP - Using a plastic spatula to scrape dough off of work surface helps.
Allow the dough to rest in bowl covered with clean damp tea towel until it has doubled in size - about 2hrs is right at room temperature.
Knock back the dough by kneading it for a few minutes. Spread the dough flat and sprinkle on the fruit and zest. Fold the dough, and then knead a little. Repeat until all the fruit is incorporated and evenly distributed. Leave it to rest in bowl for 1/2 - 1 hour.
Knead lightly again on floured surface and divide into buns - Christine made 12 buns. Turn each in on itself so the top is smooth. Flatten a little.
Prepare a baking tray with a liner. Wash the top of each bun with beaten egg (or egg and milk). Put a cross on each, either mark with a knife, pipe on a flour and water mix or use traditional short crust pastry. The flour and water is quicker but is chewy.
Place in a large plastic bag and leave to prove until it has doubled in size. It will take about 2 hours. Tip - Christine ran out of time, and so that she could pick up where she left off she put them in the fridge overnight. They took about 2.5 hours in total to fully rise when taken from a 4℃ fridge.
Glaze again with egg then cook in the roasting oven, on the lowest set of runners, for about 10-15 mins, until risen and brown. You can glaze with apricot jam, but this makes them sticky and less easy to store.
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