28 March 2012

Hot Cross Buns

Easter really wouldn't be Easter without hot cross buns.  I did attempt to make them myself last year but I ended up with what would have been quite effective land to air missiles, more rock cross buns than hot cross buns.*  I am very happy that this year they are not only edible but actually very good. I like their spicy, fruity not overly sweet flavour and fresh out the oven, butter melting they are hard to beat.  The would definitely be my preference over Easter Eggs.  

Don't get me wrong, I love chocolate but I veer to the dark, bitter end of the spectrum where a little of the good stuff is enough to satisfy my craving. I have never been one for overly sweet, even as a child I didn't really like Cadbury Cream Eggs, a gooey sugar laden white and yellow goop encapsulated in milk chocolate was just too sweet. I just ate the gloopy sugary filling and that delivered more than enough of a sugar rush.  As an adult Easter Eggs could remain in the dark recesses of the pantry for months on end and never see the light of day until the bi-annual pantry clear out.

*So, I can't emphasise enough if you don't think your yeast has bloomed start again!

Hot Cross Buns

Makes 16


For the dough
150ml milk
50g butter
Zest of 1 orange
1 clove
3 cardamom pods
100g spelt flour*
300g strong white flour or bread flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
100g mixed glace fruit. I used mixed peel, quite finely diced as I am not big on chunky when it comes to peel
50g sultanas
50ml warm water
1 tsp honey
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 egg

*If you don't have spelt flour just use 400g of strong white flour or bread flour

For the egg wash
1 egg, beaten with a little milk, just a tablespoon

For the crosses
3 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp water

For the sugar glaze
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp hot water


Place the milk, butter, orange zest, clove and cardamom pods in a small saucepan over a low heat, just warm enough to allow the butter to melt.  Remove from the heat once the butter is almost melted as it will continue to melt off the heat.  Set aside to cool and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes.

Add the flours, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, glade fruit and sultanas to a the large bowl or a the bowl of a stand mixer. Once the milk has cooled remove the clove and cardamom pods and then gently beat in the egg. While the milk is cooling add the hot water to small bowl, add the honey and stir to dissolve.  Whisk in the yeast and set aside for 5-10 minutes to let the yeast bloom.  If in doubt start over as no blooming will lead to inedible rock cross buns.  Add the yeast and milk mixtures to the dry ingredients and then knead the dough either by hand or with the dough hook of an electric mixer.  Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes in the electric mixer.  Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and place it in a warm cosy spot to rise for 1- 1 1/2 hours until it has double in size.

Gently punch the dough and turn it out on to a lightly floured surface.  Knead the dough again for a  few moments and then divide it in half and then half again.  Divide each quarter in to 4 and roll each in to a ball, it will be about the size of a ping pong ball.  Place the buns on a lined baking tray, not touching but close is fine.  With a knife score each bun with a cross, cover with a lightly floured tea towel and leave to rise for a further 45 minutes or until they have double in size.

While they are rising  preheat the oven to 220C/425F.  Once the buns have risen brush then with the egg wash.  For the crosses mix together the flour, sugar and water in to a thick paste.  Dribble the paste in the indents on the buns and place them in the oven for 15-20 minutes until they are golden and cooked through.

Remove the buns from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  Mix together the sugar and water and brush over the still warm hot cross buns.

Don't wait any longer, grab one, slather with butter and enjoy! The spelt flour seems to makes these a little lighter than the bought variety which I quite like and makes me feel less guilty tucking in to a second one!
These are a little fragrant and aromatic from all the spices and the orange zest adds a lovely bright note.

This is my entry in to this month's Sweet New Zealand being hosted, this month by the lovely Emma over at My Darling Lemon Thyme....thanks for hosting!

If you like these you might like this Plum and Lemon Cake
One Year Ago Spinach, Rocket, Watercress and Walnut Pesto and a 
Little Spring Lamb



  1. Hi Mairi!

    I love hot cross buns, thats the highlight for me for easter. I was always wondering how to make them, so I am glad to have come across your post.

    I agree bitter back choco in small amounts is more appealing then cadbury pick sweet bars. ;)

    1. Thanks Helene, you should try them...great toasted slathered in butter :)

  2. Yay! So glad you had more luck this year :-) And thanks for your Sweet NZ entry xx

    1. Me too! They will now be a regular, edible!, feature at Easter!

  3. I've heard of hot cross buns but haven't had the pleasure of eating one yet. Yours look beautiful! They do sounds delicious and a warm one smeared with butter sounds heavenly. I'm happy you had success making them this year!

    1. Thanks Hannah, Om goodness I can't believe you have not had the pleasure of a hot cross bun! You must, must search some out this Easter they are the best thing about Easter!

  4. They’re pretty good straight out of the oven, but too labor intensive for me to make them again, except for a special occasion.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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