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Hot Cross Buns - Easter Buns

This recipe is in categories Baking, Desserts,
About this recipe:
Difficulty: 5
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:

For the dough:

For decorating:

Making and cooking it

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