For my money, hot cross buns are one of the best things on the planet.
Extra soft bread, with a mixture of fruit and spices, lightly toasted, served with lashings of butter and a nice cup of tea. Mmmmm, I can’t help but want another one.
I surprised myself this year by making it all the way to Easter Saturday without eating a single hot cross bun (can I retrospectively give them up for Lent?). Normally they are all that I can think about during the weeks leading up to Easter, often because whenever I pop into the store looking for inspiration for dinner there they are – lining the aisles, particularly the aisles leading to the checkout.
This Easter my favourite grocery store seems to have placed the focus firmly on chocolate and there have been a multitude of eggs to choose from but I think I only saw the Easter buns once, and thinking it was too early to indulge I gave them a miss that time and never saw them again.
So today I made my own hot cross buns and I have to say it was totally worth it.
These are exactly the hot cross buns that you want to be munching on, soft feathery dough with just the right amount of fruit. It will be impossible to stop at just one.This is an easy recipe from the River Cottage Bread Handbook. Bake and enjoy.
- 250g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 250g plain white flour
- 125ml warm water
- 125ml warm milk
- 5g powdered dried yeast
- 10g salt
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 medium free-range egg
- 50g butter
- 100g raisins, currants or sultanas (or a mixture)
- Finely grated zest of ½ orange
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- For the crosses
- 50g plain white flour
- 100ml water
- To finish
- 1 tbsp apricot (or other) jam, sieved
- 1 tbsp water
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6.
To make the crosses, whisk together the flour and water until smooth, then transfer to a greaseproof paper piping bag and snip off the end to make a fine hole (or use a plastic food bag with a corner snipped off).
Transfer the risen buns to a baking tray and pipe a cross on top of each one, then bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the jam with the water in a pan. Brush over the buns to glaze as you take them from the oven.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm, cold or toasted.