When I was a little kid, I used to think that hot cross buns were just like fruitcake. I refused to try them. I wasn’t much of a picky eater, I seldom put up a fight about food, so my parents pretty much tolerated when I got my nose it a twitch about not wanting to eat/try something. About 5 or 6 years ago I was visiting with my mom, having a mid-afternoon tea and she brought out some lightly toasted hot cross buns with a little butter spread on them. I tentatively took a half, and was delighted at the familiar cinnamon and nutmeg flavour. It reminded me of a little bit spicier version of raisin bread.
This was my first effort at homemade hot cross buns. The dough comes together in a breeze. It smells amazing putting it together, kneading it, and then baking in the oven. And when warm out of the oven, a great treat…and not just something you can get at the local bakery around Easter…I am certain this is a make again type of recipe. In one sitting TB gobbled up four!
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1/2 cup lukewarm water
4 1/2 tsp instant yeast
3 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
two pinches each of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg
1/3 cup raisins, chopped into small bits
1/3 cup mixed cranberries and cherries, chopped into small bits
2 tablespoons honey to glaze
For the cross – 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup water
- Dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar in the milk and water, then stir in the yeast and set aside.
- In a bowl sift the flour, salt, spices and remaining sugar.
- Pour in the yeast mixture, melted butter and lightly beaten egg. Mix with a wooden spoon then knead for 6-8 minutes.
- Place dough into a clean oiled bowl and cover. Allow the dough to double in size.
- Lightly grease a roasting pan (9″x11″).
- After the dough has risen add the raisins, cherries and cranberries and knead till well mixed.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape into buns. Place the buns well apart in the pan.
- Cover again and leave in a warm place for 30 -40 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add a hot water bath to the bottom rack.
- To make the cross, mix the flour and water together to form a smooth paste. Spoon into a small sandwich bag, clip the end with scissors. Pipe a cross on each bun.
- Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Immediately brush with honey and then return to oven and bake for another 3 minutes. Cool completely or serve warm from the oven.
Makes 12 buns. Adapted from The Knead for Bread.