Hot cross buns are spiced, sticky glazed fruit buns with pastry crosses, and are traditionally served on Good Friday.
Ready for baking
Even though I didn't like them as a child, I still loved the excitement of having them on Good Friday. Hot cross buns were something very special, with their beautiful spicy smell and sticky shiny top. I always had one, and laboriously picked out the raisins and pieces of mixed peel!
My version has dried cranberries and I've done something a bit clever with the mixed peel. Grinding it finely with the sugar gives the subtle flavour of the peel, but none of the ghastly lumpy bits that I hated. Add some lemon rind and a little spice, top with a sticky marmalade glaze and you'll have a glorious bun, worthy of a place on your Good Friday breakfast table!
Hot Cross Buns with Dried Cranberries and Lemon
I make the dough in my bread machine, but you can use a mixer with a dough attachment, or do the kneading by hand. Only add enough milk to make a soft dough.
2 teaspoons dried yeast
400g strong white bread flour
25g unsalted butter
1 level teaspoon salt
1 large egg
Approximately 220ml semi skimmed milk (you may need slightly more or less)
100g dried cranberries - or use any dried fruit of your choice
Zest of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
25g cut mixed peel,
50g granulated sugar
1 egg for glazing, optional
For the crosses
1 tablespoon strong white bread flour
1-3 tablespoons water
For the sticky glaze
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon shredless marmalade (no peel)
In a grinder or blender, pulse the mixed peel with the sugar until it becomes fairly fine. this is optional, you can leave the peel finely chopped instead.
Put all the ingredients (not the second egg which is for glazing) into the bread machine, in the correct order for your machine. My machine has a raisin dispenser, but you can add the fruit on the final kneading if your machine doesn't have one.
When it comes to the milk, you may need slightly more or less, keep an eye on it and add as necessary to make a smooth, soft dough. I like to weigh the egg and then add the milk to come roughly to 270-280ml in total.
When dough is ready, divide it into 8 equal pieces and shape them into buns. Place onto a greased baking tray and leave to rise until doubled in size.
Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Brush the buns with a little beaten egg. For the crosses, mix the flour with a little water, adding more until you have a smooth paste. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each bun.
Bake for about 15-18 minutes until golden brown.
While the buns are baking, put the sugar, water and marmalade into a small pan and bring to the boil, stirring until the marmalade has melted and you have a sticky syrup.
When the buns come out of the oven, remove them from the baking tray and place onto a wire cooling rack. Brush them with the warm syrup.
Serve warm or toasted with lots of butter.
Slather with butter while hot
I'm submitting this to YeastSpotting, which is a weekly showcase of yeasted baked goods and dishes with bread as a main ingredient. If you love baking with yeast, check out the beautiful breads and other yeast recipes here.
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