Hot cross buns

by Alison, 20/04/2014

Happy Easter :) I sound like a broken record at this stage but Ollie is still on the boat so I'm spending the bank holiday hanging out with friends, surfing, enjoying the sunshine (yes, its beautiful out here) and eating lots of lovely food (Thanks for the burger Bill). 

In my mind, Easter and chocolate are go hand in hand. I'm currently debating whether or not to eat the Easter egg I bought Ollie for breakfast. However I got a reminder about all the other lovely food that is associated with Easter when I found my friends hot cross buns in the freezer. It made me curious about whether or not it would be possible to make your own. Turns out they are pretty simple, just requiring time and a bit of patience. I made the dough one evening and baked the buns the next morning. 

This recipe is from Nigella Lawson's website. Click here to see the original. Seeing as it's a traditional food I didn't want to change the recipe and therefore all creative credit goes to the domestic goddess. 

Enjoy the recipe and whatever else you are doing this Easter.

Ingredients for the dough:
150ml milk
50g butter
zest of 1orange
1 clove
2 cardamon pods
400g bread flour (the original recipe is very clear on not replacing this with ordinary plain flour)
 1 x 7g packet of easy blend yeast (I could not source this and had to use dry yeast. This worked but the extra liquid changes the consistancy and you need additional flour. For an easy life try find the easy blend yeast. See side-note for how to use.)
125 g sultanas (the recipe advises on mixed dried fruit sultanas, raisins, currents ext.)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 large egg

Ingredients for the egg wash:
1 large egg beaten with a bit of milk

Ingredients for the cross:
3 tbs plain flour
1/2 tbs castor sugar
2 tbs water

Ingredients for the sugar glaze:
1 tbs caster sugar
1 tbs boiling water

On the first evening, heat the milk, butter, orange zest, clove and cardamon pods in a saucepan. Allow the butter to melt. Then turn off the heat and allow to infuse. 
Measure all the dry ingredients in the bowl.
Once the infused milk has cooled (Nigella advised that it cools to blood temperature, I took this to mean when you can stick I finger in without burning it) remove the clove and cardamon pods and beat in the egg.
Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients.
Knead the dough, adding additional liquid or flour as required. Knead until the dough is silky and elastic, though the fruit mean the dough will never be perfectly smooth.
Shape the dough into a ball and place in a butterbowl covered in cling film. Place in the fridge and leave to prove over-night (I was intrigued by this as I have only ever proved dough in a warm environment before)

Side-note If like me you could not find easy blend yeast you can you dry yeast. Make your yeast mixture as per the instructions on the packet, Then instead of adding the yeast with the dry ingredients add the yeast as you add the milk. I used 2/3 of the amount that I would use to make bread. I also required two additional handfuls of flour as the dough was very wet.

The next morning preheat the oven to 220˚C.
Remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature.
Knock the dough back and knead again until it is smooth and elastic.
Divide into 16 balls and shape into smooth round buns.
Place the buns close together but not touching on a baking tray covered in baking parchment.
Use a butter knife to score the tops of the buns with a cross.
Cover with a tea-towel and leave to prove for a further 45mins.
Once they have risen, brush with the egg wash.
Place the mixture for the cross in a piping bag or a plastic bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle the mixture to fill the indentation of the cross.
Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place in a wire rack. Make the sugar glaze, brush this over each bun and leave to cool.


  1. These look scrumptious!

    1. They taste really good too, if I do say so myself. Perfect heated up with a cup of tea :)