Whenever hot cross buns appear on the bakery shelves I know that Easter is not far away. These delicious spiced, sweet buns have always been a childhood favourite of mine, served warm with a very generous layer of butter. As with most breads they’re a labour of love and require time to prove and develop their flavours, make sure you set aside an afternoon, pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy making this traditional Easter treat slowly.
I used this recipe but substituted the flour for a gluten-free variety and the dairy for almond milk, they turned out just the same, if a little less risen.
For the buns you will need:
- 575g strong bread flour (Or a gluten-free alternative – I used Doves Farm)
- 75g caster sugar
- 75g sultanas
- 50g mixed peel
- 7g quick working yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 250ml milk (Or a non-dairy alternative, I used unsweetened almond)
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1½ tbsp. Yutaka Yuzu
- 2 tbsp water
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 50g butter (or no-dairy alternative, I used Vitalite)
- 2 eggs beaten
For the cross:
- 75g plain flour
For the glaze:
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- Combine the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix evenly.
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk, honey, yuzu, water, lemon zest and butter stirring constantly until the butter has melted. Remove the mixture from heat and let cool 5 minutes so as not to kill the yeast, then pour into a well in the centre of the flour mix.
- Bring together using a wooden spoon and then dive in and use your hands until the ingredients are all combined. Tip out onto a well-floured surface and knead for around 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and stretchy.
- Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with cling film or foil and leave somewhere warm to rise until it has doubled in size.
- Next, add your sultanas and mixed peel to the dough in the bowl, knead to combine all the ingredients and leave once again to rise for about an hour.
- Once the dough has risen again, divide into 10-15 pieces depending on how big you want your buns to be. Roll into smooth balls.
- Place your buns onto parchment-lined baking trays allowing enough space for them to once again expand. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave for a further hour.
- Preheat oven to 220c or gas mark 7.
- Mix the flour for the cross with some water to make a basic dough. Place this mixture into a piping bag and pipe one line across each bun then repeat to form the cross. (If you don’t have a piping back you can use a ziplock or sandwich bag and cut a corner off)
- Brush the buns with a beaten egg to give a glaze.
- Bake for around 20 mins or until your buns are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack.
- Mix the caster sugar with boiling water and, once the buns have cooled a little, brush with your sugar glaze.
Although a very time-consuming recipe these really are worth the wait. Be sure to try one whilst they’re still hot from the oven, it really is something special. The Yuzu gives a real depth of citrus flavour whilst the honey adds a gentle sweetness.
If you try this recipe let me know how they turn out!
*This post was written in collaboration with Yutaka who kindly gifted me the ingredients to make these delicious hot-cross buns, the finished product and all opinions are as always, my own.