Hot Cross Buns (one a penny, two a penny....)

As Easter is drawing nearer, I fancied having a bash at making some Hot Cross Buns as I really enjoy them and I can´t buy them where I live. My plan is to make them now and freeze 8 of them until Easter to have for breakfast when my parents come to visit. Hot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten hot (hence the name!) or toasted on Good Friday and the cross symbolizes the cross on which Jesus was crucified.

As I´ve only made bread- type recipes 3 times before and the last recipe I made was current teacakes, which are very similar to Hot Cross Buns, didn´t turn out as well as I´d have liked, I was a bit apprehensive as to how they would come out. However, not to worry, the recipe was fairly straightforward and I am quite proud of how they turned out (even if I do say so myself!). The recipe is an amalgamation between Delia Smith´s recipe in the Complete Cookery Course and a recipe I´d saved from Hello or Ok as is as follows:

Ingredients (makes 12)

1 tbsp dried yeast

450g plain flour

2 tsp caster sugar

2 tsp mixed spice (the smell as they were baking was heavenly!)

2 large eggs

Grated zest of 1 lemon 150 ml /1/4 pt warm milk

25g/1 oz butter, melted

75g/3oz currants (I actually used about 90g as didn´t have mixed peel and wasn´t adding the cherries or walnuts as recipe stated-I wanted a more traditional hot cross bun!)

4 tsp plain flour

2 tbsp honey (optional)

milk to glaze

1 tsp salt


1. Sieve plain flour and salt into large mixing bowl, then add caster sugar, mixed spice, dried yeast, currants and lemon zest and stir till combined.

2. Whisk warm milk and eggs in a measuring jug and add warm water till 300 ml/1/2 pt level is reached.

3. Add melted butter and gradually add milk and egg mixture, stirring until all the flour is well incorporated (see below) and forms a dough.

4. Knead until smooth & elastic (I found that my dough was pretty sticky so had to add a little more flour and a tiny bit of milk which I eyeballed until I had the "right" consistency!) 5. Leave for 5 mins, then knead again for 2 mins and divide into 12 equal(ish) flat "cakes". 6. Mix 4 tbsp plain flour with 3 tbsp cold water and pipe crosses on top of the buns (yes sir, I had my piping bag out again this week...I´m going to be a piping expert in no time..I wish!!!!) 7. Place on greased baking tray, brush with a little milk and cut a cross in the centre of each "cake", then cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for 25 mins (be careful as although I tried a trick of spraying baking spray over the plastic wrap which I´d seen on a baking programme, it didn´t work and the plastic wrap stuck to the buns a little...maybe she used oil!)

8. Bake in a preheated oven at 220º C (425ºF) for 20-25 mins until golden brown and when you tap the bottom of the bun, you hear a hollow sound ( this time may vary depending on your oven..I had to turn my oven down to about 200ºC and only baked them for about 15mins!) 9. If you want, you can then brush them with a little honey which gives them a lovely shininess. Voíla! The finished product-great eaten hot or toasted and smothered in butter!

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