Hot Cross Buns

If you enjoy baking and have plenty of time, why not make some homemade hot cross buns? They’re traditional during Good Friday, Easter, and Lent, but of course the recipe is just as delicious any time of the year.

Yield 12 buns
Time 30 minutes hands on, plus at least 2 hours for rising and baking
  • small bowl
  • whisk
  • large bowl
  • pastry cutter or two butter knifes
  • clean kitchen towel
  • plastic bag (that large bowl fits inside)
  • cookie sheet or large baking dish
  • rolling pin
  • wire rack
  • 7 oz warm water (100-110°F)
  • 1 T yeast
  • 3 oz sugar, divided
  • 1 pound wheat flour, plus a little extra
  • 2 t salt
  • 5 oz butter or margarine, divided
  • 7 oz milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • ½ t nutmeg
  • 1½ oz lemon and/or orange zest
  • 3 oz currants or raisins
  • ¼ c chopped hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecans (optional)
  • ¼ c all-purpose flour
  • dash salt
  • 1-2 T cold water
  • 2 T milk
Directions Combine water, yeast, and ½ t sugar in small bowl. Whisk together and let sit for 10 minutes, until frothy.

Meanwhile, combine flour, salt, and 1 T sugar in the large bowl, then cut in 4 oz of butter.

Make a well in the center of the flour, pour in the yeast, and add milk and egg. Mix well.

Sprinkle some flour on kitchen counter, and turn dough out onto it. Knead for 10 minutes.

Return dough to bowl, cover with damp towel, and place the bowl inside the bag. Let stand in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, 1-2 hours.

Remove bag and towel, then punch down the dough. Add spices, zest, currants, nuts, and 1 oz sugar, and knead until fully incorporated.

Oil the cookie sheet.

Divide the dough into 12 balls and place 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet. Cover with damp towel and set in a warm place until puffy, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425.

Combine all-purpose flour with a dash of salt, then cut in the remaining ounce of butter, until the flour resembles cornmeal. Slowly add water, just enough to make a dough.

Sprinkle counter with flour and knead dough for a couple of minutes, until smooth. Roll out thinly and cut into strips. Arrange these into a cross on each bun.

Bake 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat milk with remaining sugar until dissolved. Brush this mixture over the buns, transfer them to a wire rack, and let cool.

Notes Adapted from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian.

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