Hot Cross Buns
- Difficulty: Easy
- Prep time: 4 h
- Cook time: 20 min
- Makes: 8 pieces
- Cost: Average
The Hot Cross Buns are the typical Good Friday staple for Easter. While they are delicious, they are also associated with many believes and superstitions. The design on top of each bun, a cross, represents the cross on which Christ died. Such design is said to be blessed, and-in turn-to bless whoever comes in contact with it, especially if they are sick. The English folklore involves a Hot Cross Bun hanging in the kitchens all year round. By doing so, the household will be impervious to fires, and all the future baked goods will come out perfectly. Finally, these buns are so easy to make that one should limit the pleasure to just once a year! Enjoy them toasted with jam, or butter, or Nutella.
Check out also these traditional Easter recipes:
- for the dough
- Bread Flour 2 ½ cups (300 g) - Spooned over measuring cup, then leveled off
- Citrus zest 2 tbsp (8 g) - Tangerine, Orange or Lemon or a mix
- Milk ½ cup (125 ml) - Lukewarm
- Granulated sugar 2 tbsp (25 g)
- Butter 4 tbsp (55 g) - Unsalted, cubed, room temperature
- Eggs 1 - Large, beaten
- Yeast in granules 1 tbsp (10 g) - Instant or active dry
- Currants ¼ cup (30 g) - Plumped and patted dry, then pressed heavily in the measuring cup
- Salt ½ tsp (3 g)
- Cinnamon powder ½ tsp (3 g) - or to taste
- Vanilla extract 1 tsp (4 g)
How to prepare the dough
Place the yeast, one Tbs of the sugar and the lukewarm milk in the bowl of a stand up mixer fitted with a dough hook. Whisk to dissolve. When the yeast has formed a foam on the surface, it means that it has been activated. It will take a few minutes.
While you wait, mix the flour, zest and cinnamon. Beat the egg with the vanilla, and pat dry the reconstituted currants.
Once the yeast is active add the flour and currants. Knead while you add the remaining sugar and the egg.
The dough will be stick at first, and after a few minutes start incorporating the butter, a bit at a time.
Knead 5 more minutes, then drop in the salt and mix a few more minutes on medium high.
Using a dough scraper, transfer the Hot Cross Buns dough to an oiled container. Place in a dry place to rest and double in volume (about 2 hours).
When the dough has doubled in volume, transfer it to a flat work surface. Divide it into 8 portions of about 80 grams each.
Prepare a lined baking sheet and set aside.
Working with one portion at a time, form the buns and place them on the baking sheet.
Once all the dough is shaped, spray the buns with oil and cover loosely with clear wrap.
Let rest about 40 minutes or until doubled.
How to prepare the paste
Using a small bowl and a fork, mix the flour and water until no lumps are visible, it should not be too stiff.
Transfer the mix to a small zip lock bag and clip a very small opening on one of the corners.
Prepare also the glaze by mixing all the ingredients with the apricot jam and heating it lightly for a minute. Remove from heat.
Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
Working with one bun at a time, start on the top and mark its center with a toothpick. Using the dot as a reference, mark the two lines that will form the cross. I use my fingers, oiled, to smooth down the lines. Too thick and will become stiff while baking.
Repeat with all the buns, and if you need to, you can run one more line over the existing ones.
Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes rotating the pan half the way through.
Bake until lightly golden and the internal temperature reaches 190°F.
Remove from the oven and immediately glaze. Repeat the process a couple of times as the buns cool, until desired level of shine. They will be sticky, but delicious!
How to store
While the Hot Cross buns are best the day they are made, if you have leftovers, wrap them in foil (for up to a few days) and re-heat in a warm oven. They will return as good as the first day.
The flour cross over the bun might harden up over time, so don't pipe it too thick.
The cross on the buns is made with just a paste of flour and water: don't make it too dry or will be too hard after baking. Also, for best results, brush the buns with the glaze the very moment they come out of the oven.