These might be easy to buy, but why not try to make your own this Easter, you won’t regret it! They are crunchy and golden on the outside but wonderfully soft on the inside. If that doesn’t sound indulgent enough, they are then coated in cinnamon sugar. A definite crowd pleaser!
Makes about 12 hot cross buns
For the buns:
– 500g strong white bread flour
– 75g caster sugar
– 5g salt
– 2 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1 tsp mixed spice
– 2 x 7g sachets fast-action dried yeast
– 50g unsalted butter
– 300ml full-fat milk
– 1 medium egg, beaten
– 100g sultanas
– 50g mixed peel
– 1 red apple
– 50g apricot jam, to glaze
For the crosses:
– 75g plain flour
– 80ml water
To begin, heat the milk in a small saucepan until it’s steaming then add the butter. Stir to ensure the butter is melted and then set the saucepan aside for 10 minutes or until it is lukewarm. Meanwhile, put the bread flour, sugar, salt, spices and yeast into a large bowl. Keep the salt and the yeast on opposite sides of the bowl. Make a well in the centre and add half the warm milk and butter and the beaten egg. Bring the mixture together using your hands and then gradually add the rest of the milk until a sticky dough forms. You may not need all the milk.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 mins until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film or a clean tea towel and leave to rest until doubled in size and your finger leaves a dent when pressed into it (1-1½ hours).
Peel, core and finely chop the apple. With the dough still in the bowl add the sultanas, mixed peel and apple. Bring together and knead into the dough on a lightly floured surface making sure to evenly distribute the fruit then leave to rest in a covered bowl as before for another hour or until doubled in size.
Line two baking trays with parchment paper. Knock back the dough by punching it flat on a lightly floured surface and then divide and shape into 12 equal smooth balls. Place onto the baking trays, spacing them evenly about 1 inch apart. Cover lightly with cling film or a tea towel and leave to prove again until doubled in size (45 mins -1 hour).
Pre-heat oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas mark 6. For the crosses mix the flour with the water to make a thick paste and spoon this into a piping bag with a small nozzle. When the buns are ready, pipe lines across each row to make crosses. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Gently heat the apricot jam and while the buns are still warm brush it on top to glaze them. Leave to cool.