These Hot Cross Buns are made with a sweet buttery enriched dough that makes an incredibly tender crumb. I usually make them with currants and mixed peel, but you can add whatever fruit you want. You can also leave them plain. Plumping the dried fruit before baking stops them from drying out, being chewy and popping out of the dough as you knead it (and bake it). The recipe also give you instructions as to how to make a flour paste cross. You can, instead, make an icing cross by making a paste from water and icing sugar. Draw on the icing crosses after the hot cross buns have been baked, glazed and cooled. Lightly adapted from a Delia Smith recipe.
150 ml hand-hot water mixed with 1 teaspoon of sugar
75 g (150 ml) currants (optional)
50 g (60 ml) mixed peel (optional)
Water from a freshly boiled kettle, as needed
450 g (750 ml) all purpose flour, plus more, if needed
50 g (60 ml) sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cloves, ground
2 allspice berries, ground
Seeds from 2 green cardamom pods, ground
55 g (60 ml) butter, melted and cooled
50 ml hand-hot homogenised milk(3¼) or 5% cream, plus more, if needed
1 egg, beaten
For burnishing and for the cross
1 egg, beaten
75 g (125 ml) all-purpose flour
110 - 125 ml water, as needed
For the glaze
2 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons white sugar
Sprinkle the yeast over the hand-hot water and set aside to bloom.
As the yeast blooms, combine the currants and mixed peel (if using) in a separate bowl and cover with hot water, and set aside. Also, butter a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Combine flour, sugar, salt, and spices in a stand mixer bowl. Pour in the melted butter, milk, egg, drained plumped fruit, and yeasty water. With the dough hook attachment, knead on medium for 7 minutes (you may need to add more flour or milk, so the dough is tacky, elastic, and soft. Rest for 7 minutes. Knead for five minutes. Turn into the buttered bowl, cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in volume -- this will take about an hour.
Line and butter a baking sheet, cake pan, or rectangular baking pan and lightly butter or oil your working surface.
When the dough has doubled in bulk, turn it onto the surface and lightly knead for about a minute. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll them into balls and set them on the prepared baking sheet or tin (leave room (about 4 cm) between each to expand). Cover with a floured tea towel or a lightly oiled piece of cling film and let rise in the same warm, draft-free spot for 25 to 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F.
Make the flour paste for the cross by mixing the flour with enough water to form a loose (but not runny) paste. You can, at this point put the paste into a piping bag fit with a fine tip (or zippy plastic bag, with a tiny hole cut out of the corner for piping) you can also leave the paste in the bowl and use a teaspoon spoon on the crosses, when the time comes.
After the buns prove, brush them well with the beaten egg. Then pipe or spoon on the flour paste crosses.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. While the buns bake, make the glaze by mixing the hot water and sugar.
When the buns are done, remove from the oven and glaze immediately. Cool the buns on a wire rack.