Easter Hot Cross Buns

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Easter hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday in many Christian countries, although there's really no excuse needed to enjoy these sweet, spiced and fruity buns. Toasted with butter, these buns pair perfectly with your morning coffee or afternoon tea.

Easter Hot Cross Buns

The Saxons used to eat crossed buns to honour Eostre, a West Germanic spring goddess, and they would celebrate in April. For Eostre, goddess of the dawn and fertility, the cross symbolised the four quarters of the moon. This tradition may have been the precursor to Easter hot cross buns, and for Christians, the cross symbolises the crucifixion of Christ.

Easter Hot Cross Buns

Whatever you choose to believe, there's no denying the allure and irresistibility of these buns. I always make a large batch of buns, as it takes extreme willpower to stop at just one!

Easter Hot Cross Buns

Easter hot cross buns typically contain a blend of spices and a mix of dried fruit. These are completely customisable to your preferences; popular dried fruit alternatives include raisins, sultanas, dried apricots or mixed peel.

Store your Easter hot cross buns in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, if they last that long!

Easter Hot Cross Buns

Here's what you'll need to make these Easter hot cross buns:
(Click here to jump straight to the recipe)

For the buns
75g dried figs, chopped
75g dried cranberries
7g sachet of easy bake yeast
40g caster sugar
250ml milk
30g unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom (or seeds from 6 pods)
1/4 tsp salt
Zest of 1 large orange
1 large egg, beaten

For the crosses
50g plain flour
1 egg, beaten

And here's what you'll need to do:

  • Lightly grease a large bowl, and set aside until needed.
  • Chop the figs, and put them into a separate bowl with the cranberries.
  • If using cardamom pods, grind the seeds into a fine powder. Weigh the sugar into a small bowl.
  • Proof the yeast by pouring 50ml of the milk into a bowl and warming it slightly in the microwave - it should not be hot, just lukewarm. Add in a teaspoon of the sugar and the sachet of yeast, and mix together. Let it stand for 5-10 minutes until it starts to bubble and froth.
  • Put the flour, spices, salt, orange zest and the rest of the sugar together in a separate large mixing bowl. Stir to combine with a wooden spoon.
  • Meanwhile, put the butter in a small saucepan, and warm gently over medium low heat. When it is melted, add the remaining 200ml of milk and the vanilla extract. Continue heating and swirl until the mixture is combined and the milk is warm. Don't let the mixture get hot.
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Add the warmed milk mixture, the yeast mixture and the beaten egg. Stir gently in one direction with a wooden spoon until it starts to come together. Then use your hands to knead until a smooth dough forms.
  • Dust a work surface with some flour. Continue kneading the dough on the surface for 10-15 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.
  • Flatten the dough into a wide disc, and place the dried fruit on top. Fold the dough over, and knead gently for a few more minutes, until the fruit is evenly distributed throughout.
  • Put the dough into the greased bowl, cover with cling film and set aside to rise until it doubles in size, about an hour. If your kitchen is on the cool side (as mine frequently is in early Spring!), you can pop the bowl into a slightly warmed oven to encourage rising. (I have a fan oven and put the dough in at about 30C, it always does the trick).
  • Meanwhile, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Put the risen dough back onto your work surface, and divide into 18 roughly equal portions. You should have about 1.03kg of dough, so each portion should be about 55-57g each.
  • Roll each into a ball, and arrange into two circles on your lined baking sheet, six in the inner circle, and 12 in the outer circle. Cover with cling film, and set aside again until roughly doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 190 C (375F) / 170C Fan.
  • Prepare the mixture for the crosses by putting the flour into a small bowl. Mix in 1 Tbsp of water at a time, making sure each is absorbed before adding the next, until a thick and smooth paste forms - you'll need about 7-8 Tbsp of water.
  • Beat the egg in a separate bowl, and brush the egg wash onto the risen dough balls using a pastry brush. 
  • Put the flour mixture into a piping bag or plastic bag with corner snipped off, and pipe crosses onto the dough balls.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 17-20 minutes until golden.
  • Remove the buns from the oven, cool slightly, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Enjoy your Easter hot cross buns fresh from the oven, or toasted, with butter.
Easter Hot Cross Buns
Easter Hot Cross Buns
Easter Hot Cross Buns
Easter Hot Cross Buns

Easter Hot Cross Buns

By

Easter Hot Cross Buns

These sweet, spiced and fruity Easter hot cross buns are simply irresistible!

Prep Time: 45 minutes plus time for dough to rise
Cook time: 17 minutes
Yield: 18
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Modern European
Tags: Spiced Buns, Dried Fruit

Ingredients

For the buns
75g dried figs, chopped
75g dried cranberries
7g sachet of easy bake yeast
40g caster sugar
250ml milk
30g unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom (or seeds from 6 pods)
1/4 tsp salt
Zest of 1 large orange
1 large egg, beaten

For the crosses
50g plain flour
1 egg, beaten

Method

  1. Lightly grease a large bowl, and set aside until needed.
  2. Chop the figs, and put them into a separate bowl with the cranberries.
  3. If using cardamom pods, grind the seeds into a fine powder. Weigh the sugar into a small bowl.
  4. Proof the yeast by pouring 50ml of the milk into a bowl and warming it slightly in the microwave - it should not be hot, just lukewarm. Add in a teaspoon of the sugar and the sachet of yeast, and mix together. Let it stand for 5-10 minutes until it starts to bubble and froth.
  5. Put the flour, spices, salt, orange zest and the rest of the sugar together in a separate large mixing bowl. Stir to combine with a wooden spoon.
  6. Meanwhile, put the butter in a small saucepan, and warm gently over medium low heat. When it is melted, add the remaining 200ml of milk and the vanilla extract. Continue heating and swirl until the mixture is combined and the milk is warm. Don't let the mixture get hot.
  7. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Add the warmed milk mixture, the yeast mixture and the beaten egg. Stir gently in one direction with a wooden spoon until it starts to come together. Then use your hands to knead until a smooth dough forms.
  8. Dust a work surface with some flour. Continue kneading the dough on the surface for 10-15 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.
  9. Flatten the dough into a wide disc, and place the dried fruit on top. Fold the dough over, and knead gently for a few more minutes, until the fruit is evenly distributed throughout.
  10. Put the dough into the greased bowl, cover with cling film and set aside to rise until it doubles in size, about an hour. If your kitchen is on the cool side (as mine frequently is in early Spring!), you can pop the bowl into a slightly warmed oven to encourage rising. (I have a fan oven and put the dough in at about 30C, it always does the trick).
  11. Meanwhile, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  12. Put the risen dough back onto your work surface, and divide into 18 roughly equal portions. You should have about 1.03kg of dough, so each portion should be about 55-57g each.
  13. Roll each into a ball, and arrange into two circles on your lined baking sheet, six in the inner circle, and 12 in the outer circle. Cover with cling film, and set aside again until roughly doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  14. Preheat the oven to 190 C (375F) / 170C Fan.
  15. Prepare the mixture for the crosses by putting the flour into a small bowl. Mix in 1 Tbsp of water at a time, making sure each is absorbed before adding the next, until a thick and smooth paste forms - you'll need about 7-8 Tbsp of water.
  16. Beat the egg in a separate bowl, and brush the egg wash onto the risen dough balls using a pastry brush.
  17. Put the flour mixture into a piping bag or plastic bag with corner snipped off, and pipe crosses onto the dough balls.
  18. Bake in the preheated oven for 17-20 minutes until golden.
  19. Remove the buns from the oven, cool slightly, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  20. Enjoy your Easter hot cross buns fresh from the oven, or toasted, with butter.

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