Hot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday with the cross on the buns representing the Crucifixion. They are sweet buns filled with currants and raisins and fragrant thanks to the spices and zest used in the dough. There are plenty of superstitions and traditions around the buns and the sweetest one is probably the one that suggests sharing a hot cross bun with a friend will ensure a strong friendship through the year.
So go ahead and try out this recipe like we did and share your batch of Hot Cross Buns with friends and family this Good Friday.
We tried out this recipe that was super simple and the buns tasted delicious even though we missed a crucial step in the recipe. Learn from our mistake though and no matter how distracted you may be, when baking with yeast, follow the recipe. Don’t forget to let the buns rise a second time just before you put them in the oven or they’ll resemble scones more than soft, sweet buns. They’ll still smell and taste good but they won’t be quite what you’re looking for.
Traditionally, the cross on the Hot Cross Buns is made of pastry or a mix of flour and water but we like the idea of doing an Orange flavored icing over these buns. Fresh orange juice and sugar make these buns taste sweet, fruity, spicy and delicious.
Hot Cross Buns
(Adapted from Simply Recipes)
3/4 cup warm Milk
3 1/2 cups Plain Flour
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated white Sugar
2 tsp ground Spices (like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg)
1 tsp Salt
4 tbs Butter, softened
2 Eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup Currants or Raisins (You could also use candied Citrus peel instead of some of the Raisins)
2 tsp grated Orange zest
1 tbsp Milk
1 tsp freshly squeezed Orange juice
3 to 4 tbs powdered Sugar
Stir together 1/4 cup of warm milk and one teaspoon of sugar and add the yeast on top of this. Let it all sit till the yeast is foamy, about 5-10 minutes.
In a large bowl, stir or whisk together 3 cups of the flour, the salt, spices, and 1/4 cup of sugar. Use a fork or a whisk so your flour is lump free. Create a well in the spiced flour and add the yeast, softened butter, eggs and the rest of the milk. Mix the ingredients well, till the mixture feels and looks sticky. Add in the raisins and orange zest.
Knead the dough with your hands and slowly start adding in the rest of the flour, a spoonful at a time. Keep kneading till the dough is no longer as sticky as it was. Form a ball of the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours. The dough will double in size.
Press down on the dough to gently compress it. Roll the dough into a log shape and cut into two halves. Divide each half into 8 equal pieces. Form the individual pieces into mounds, placing them 1 1/2 inches apart from each other on baking sheets.
Let the dough mounds sit at room temperature for another 30-40 minutes to rise again.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Whisk an egg and a tablespoon of milk to make the egg wash. Using a pasty brush, brush on the egg wash over the dough mounds. This will give the buns a shiny top when cooked.
Bake the buns for 10-12 minutes until the buns are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let them cool for a few minutes before transferring them to wire stands to cool further.
To add the cross to your hot cross buns, a cross on the top of the buns, wait until the buns have cooled. Whisk together the orange juice and powdered sugar. Keep adding powdered sugar until you get a nice thick frosting. Fill a plastic bag with the icing and form a sort of cone. Snip of a small corner to make a small hole and use the bag to pipe the delicious crosses over your hot cross buns.