With the kitchen windows open, we could hear the rain pelting down. An ideal morning to make a batch of Hot Cross Buns.
Traditionally served at Easter time, Hot Cross Buns have a cross to symbolize the crucifixion. They’ve been baked, sold and enjoyed by many for centuries.
A stand mixer is your best friend when you have a yeasted dough that needs kneading.
After a couple hours when the dough has doubled, its time to divide into twelve equalish sized balls.
Turn each section inside out, leave the stretched part as the new exterior and pinch the bottom together like a balloon. Let these balloon shaped buns rest for about a half hour before proceeding.
Once the buns have risen, adding an egg wash glaze will turn these buns a wonderful bronzed color when baked.
A generous sized cross is made with a flour based icing/paste.
They are baked for about 15 minutes and cooled on a wire rack before enjoying with a friend.
The interior is speckled with spice, orange zest and plump raisins. The perfect accompaniment to your afternoon tea.
They are also great the day after, when toasted and spread with butter.
Hot Cross Buns
Recipe from Real Irish Food by David Bowers
- 1 cup milk
- 1 stick of butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 package yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons mixed spice*
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup fresh raisins
- zest of an orange
Glaze is 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water whisked together.
For the cross
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
Heat milk and butter to 115 degrees. Stir in sugar and sprinkle yeast over top. Whisk with fork and allow to sit until bubbly.
Combine flour, mixed spice, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. With mixer on low add milk mixture. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add raisins and zest. With the mixer on medium, knead 4-5 minutes.
Place dough in a greased bowl and cover until doubled in size. On a floured surface, divide dough into 12 balls. Turn each ball inside out, leaving the stretched part as the new exterior and pinching the bottom together like a balloon. Set pinched side down on a large baking sheet. Cover loosely and let rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat egg with 1 tablespoon water to make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk flour, water, confectioners sugar and melted butter. Brush the egg glaze over the raised buns. Pipe a generous cross about 1/2 inch wide over the entire top of each bun, dividing bun into four squares.
Bake for 15-17 minutes. Cool on a rack until barely warm.
*To make a batch of mixed spice: combine 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon each of ground nutmeg, cloves and allspice. Keep in an air tight container.