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Hot Cross Buns - Easter Buns

This recipe is in categories Baking, Desserts
About this recipe
Healthiness : (32 votes)
Difficulty:  5 out of 5 difficulty
Comments: This recipe takes quite a lot of time. Perhaps one to make on a holiday rather than on a school day?
Preparation Time: Over 2 hours
Cooking Time: 10 to 30 minutes
Number of servings: 12 buns

A hot cross bun is a traditional, spiced, sticky glazed fruit bun, made using yeast. It has a cross on the top (usually made from pastry or flour and water). In many Christian countries, the buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday. The cross stands as a symbol of Christ. However, some people believe the buns came before Christianity and were used in Pagan times to represent the spring equinox (about 23rd March when day and night are equal). While this is possible, there is nothing written to support it, as the first written use of the phrase 'Hot Cross Bun' appeared in 1733.

For the Yeast Ferment:

  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 215ml (7½ fl oz) warm water
  • 15g (½ oz) fresh yeast
  • 5ml (1 teaspoon) sugar
  • 55g (2oz) strong white flour

For the dough:

  • 450g (1lb) strong white flour
  • 5ml (1 teaspoon) salt
  • 10ml (2 teaspoons) ground mixed spice
  • 85g (3½oz) butter cut into cubes
  • 85g (3½oz) sugar
  • 1 lemon, grated, zest (rind) only
  • 175g (7oz) mixed dried fruit

For decorating:

  • 30ml (2 tablespoons) plain flour
  • 30ml (2 tablespoons) cold water
  • 15ml (1 tablespoon) golden syrup, gently heated, for glazing
  • oil, for greasing
  • Measuring jug
  • Weighing scales
  • Teaspoon
  • Tablespoon
  • Grater
  • Whisk
  • Sieve
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Clean tea towel
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Baking sheet
  • Polythene bag
  • Food brush
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

For the Yeast Ferment:

  1. Prepare the yeast ferment for the dough by mixing the beaten egg with enough warm water to give approximately 300ml/½ pint of liquid
  2. Whisk in the yeast, sugar and flour, cover and put in a warm place for 30 minutes

Making the buns:

  1. Sieve the flour, salt and spice into a large mixing bowl 
  2. Rub in the butter
  3. Make a well in the centre and put the sugar and lemon zest in the well
  4. Pour on the yeast ferment
  5. Gradually add the flour and mix vigorously, then knead to a smooth, elastic dough
  6. Carefully work in the mixed dried fruit  
  7. Shape the dough into a ball  
  8. Put the dough in a warm, greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour
  9. Turn out the dough and knead to remove air bubbles and give an even texture
  10. Shape it into a ball again, put back into the bowl, cover and put back to rise for another 30 minutes
  11. Turn out the dough again and divide into 12 even pieces  
  12. Shape them into buns and leave to rest for a few minutes on the work surface covered with the tea towel
  13. Place the buns on a lightly greased baking sheet
  14. Slightly flatten each bun and then cut into quarters, cutting almost all the way through the dough, so that as each bun rises, it has a well-marked cross on it
  15. Grease inside a large polythene bag and place the tray with the buns in it and tie the end. Put in a warm place and leave to rise for 40 minutes  
  16. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 240°C/475°F/Gas 9  
  17. Make a paste for the crosses on the buns with the plain flour and 30ml (2 tbsp) cold water. Mix until it is soft enough to pipe through a nozzle
  18. Remove the polythene bag from the buns and pipe a cross on each bun  
  19. Bake the buns for 8 -12 minutes or until risen and golden  
  20. Brush the buns with hot golden syrup as soon as they are baked  
  21. Cool on a wire rack
Hot Cross Buns - Easter Buns - print view  Hot Cross Buns - Easter Buns - print view

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Name: Joel 14th January 2013
You need some sort of leavening. Baking podwer can be substituted with other pantry ingredients. Keeping in mind that a chemical rise dough is a biscuit dough (like UNO thick crust). You can make a biscuit dough with baking soda and cream of tartar or baking soda and buttermilk.If you have none of these, then all you can make is a unleavened bread and it is not the best base for a pizza but it can be done. Here's what to do if you do not have the aboveMake the dough as you would for pizza but with twice the oil.Roll out unleavened dough very thin, (1/8 ) to make a cracker type crust, no larger than a dinner plate, for strength, since they're thin.. Prick the crust all over with a fork, lay out on an oiled cookie sheet with cornmeal to stop sticking.Precook a little in a 300degree oven til set but not brown,Cover with toppings and bake in a 400F oven til toppings are brown.
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