The daffodils are out, the lambs are a leaping and it is definitely time for a hot cross bun… or five! This is our extra spiced version. If you want to jazz it up further, you can add stem ginger or sour cherries – it’s totally up to you!
400g/1 lb plain flour
50g/2 oz caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons each cinnamon and nutmeg
12g/½ oz dried instant yeast
50g/2 oz melted butter or olive oil
75g/3 oz currants, softened by pouring over boiling water then draining
25g/1 oz chopped candied peel
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
1. Place flour, sugar, salt, spices and dried instant yeast in a bowl.
2. Combine milk and water and gently heat until warm (36C if you’re being precise)
3. Mix together the melted butter/oil and beaten egg and then slowly stir in the warmed milk.
4. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients in the bowl and mix together well until a soft dough is formed. If too soft, add a little more flour and if too firm, add a little more milk or water.
5. Knead until a smooth, soft and pliable dough is obtained. Place in an oiled bowl.
6. Cover with a damp cloth or plate and leave in a warm place to rise for about 40 minutes.
7. When the mixture has proved by doubling in size, mix the currants and candied peel through.
8. Turn out the dough onto a floured board, roll or pat it out and cut it into about 13 pieces. Shape these into rounds and place in lines, not too close together, on a greased and floured baking tray.
9. Leave in a warm place for about 20 minutes until the buns are well-risen and again doubled in bulk.10. Combine flour and water for cross paste. It should be thick and runny but not gluggy. Place into a pastry bag or plastic bag with corner cut off and pipe a cross over each bun.
11. Place in the centre of a heated oven 400ºF/200ºC for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
12. When there is a few minutes left, combine the ingredients for the glaze and microwave for 1 minute, or until sugar is dissolved. As soon as you take the hot cross buns out of the oven, brush them with glaze. This gives the characteristic shiny top to the bun.