My hot cross buns recipe

As a kid I associated various things and foods with specific school holidays. Watermelon I’ll always associate with Christmas time, lentil soup with the June winter holidays and mangoes with the March holidays. One of those many typical British traditions we South Africans have “borrowed” over time is the hot cross bun. Whenever I taste one I immediately remember big post-church Easter lunches. They remind me of my Easter holidays as a kid and my mom buying packets of them (yes, my mom would buy them and not make them, shameful). With the commercialisation of Christian holidays I saw some retail stores don’t refer to them as ‘hot cross buns’ anymore and they only put one stripe on the buns instead of the traditional cross. Silly and stupid in my view. Anyway, I digress…

Perfect warm with butter, jam, cheese and even with a warm custard. This recipe makes 15 buns. I tripled it and made 45. You will need time! It takes about 4 hours to make these and the hours are there for a very good reason. If you want soft and airy buns then follow the instructions carefully…but most of all, have fun.

Note: remove the white pith from the orange skin before chopping. I also use raisins instead of sultanas, I like the softness of full raisins in buns like Chelsea buns but you can use sultanas if you prefer them.
Orange peel can be bought, you find it in the dried fruit section at stores or in the baking section.

For the buns:
– 500g bread flour
– 80g caster sugar
– 1 tsp salt
– 2 tsp ground cinnamon
– 7g instant yeast
– 50g butter
– 1 egg, beaten
– 300ml milk
– 150g raisins
– 80g finely diced and chopped orange peel
– 1 apple, sliced and chopped into small cubes
– zest of 2 oranges

For the cross:
– 80g flour
– enough water to make the flour into a thick paste

For the glaze
– 50g apricot jam

1. Bring milk to a boil. Remove from heat and add butter. Allow to cool
2. In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt, sugar and yeast together.
3. Add the milk and butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well.
4. Add the beaten egg to the mixture. Knead for 5 minutes.
5. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until double in size.
6. Mix in the raisins, orange peel and zest.
7. Add the apple and cinnamon and knead the dough again. Cover again
8. Allow to rise til double or for an hour in a warm place.
9. Divide the dough up into equal sized portions. Roll each into a ball the size of your palm. Arrange each next to each other on a greased oven tray.
10. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and allow to rise for another hour.
11. Heat oven to 200°C
12. Make a paste with the flour and about a teaspoon of water. If the paste is too dry add more water until it becomes a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe a cross along the top of each bun.
13. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
14. Heat the apricot jam with a little bit water. Whilst the buns are still hot brush the buns with the jam.

Done. Hot cross buns. Enjoy

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