Hot Cross Buns for Good Friday

Hot cross buns,
Hot cross buns,
one ha’ penny,
two ha’ penny,
hot cross buns.

If you have no daughters,
give them to your sons,
one ha’ penny,
two ha’ penny,
Hot Cross Buns

So, Easter is upon us and Lenten fasting and abstinence for those who participate is soon at an end. One of the delights of this time of year when I lived in the UK was to eat Hot Cross Buns. They are sweet, spiced buns marked with a cross to commemorate the Crucifixion.

Finally...lovely buns!

Mad Dog did an excellent post last week about the same subject, and I wish I had gone to his recipe suggestions when I first decided to make some.  I have made them here in Spain a few times and I have several recipes…but do you think I could remember which one I had used?

First of all I tried Delia Smith´s recipe – aside from deciding to make the dough in my bread maker then forgetting it was in there on a bake programme…well, the result was a hugely over risen loaf that was raw in the middle.

Oh no let me down!

Next up a Rachel Allen Recipe….they would have been good to use as missiles in a Mediaevel battle recreation.

Finally I turned to the BBC Good Food Website. Here is the original recipe, but my version is below as I found the dough a little too wet and I wanted more spices.

For the Dough

  • 300ml of full fat milk
  • 50g butter
  • 550g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 x 7g sachet of easy blend yeast
  • 1 small egg, beaten
  • 75g sultanas
  • Up to 100g of chopped mix peel
  • Grated zest of half a lemon and one orange
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • ½ teaspoon of ground ginger

For the Cross

  • 4 tablespoons of flour gradually mixed with drops of water until a thick paste is made

For the Glaze

  • 4 tablespoons of sieved, warmed apricot jam

Bring the milk almost to the boil, drop the butter in and stir until the butter has melted and then put aside to cool to hand temperature.

In a bowl mix the flour, salt, yeast, spices and sugar and add the milk mixture and egg.  Mix with a wooden spoon, then with your hands then remove from the bowl and begin to knead. I still found it overly sticky but my egg was very large so I added small amounts of flour gradually until the dough was workable. Knead for about 5mins and then put into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.

When risen, knock it back and add the fruits and peel, knead again and leave to rise a second time. This is not for people in a hurry!

After the second rise, knock the dough back again and dived into equal sized balls for the buns. The original recipe suggests 15, I got 24 good sized buns from my mix.

Place the buns, slightly spaced apart on lined baking trays, cover with tea towels and leave for another hour.

Heat the oven to 200 degrees C (the recipe says 220 but I did the first batch at this temp and the bottoms burnt slightly). Now you need to pipe the flour paste over the buns into crosses. I used a sandwich bag with a point cut off the end to do this.

Bake for about 15 minutes until golden and gorgeous. Warm the jam and brush over the still warm buns to glaze.

Enjoy as they are or split (toasted or not) with butter. Happy Easter to you All!