There’s nothing like the sweet and spicy smell of hot cross buns on Easter morning, especially a home-made batch.
To make the perfect hot cross buns follow this easy recipe from Margaret Priestley and Noreen Wainwright.
1lb/450g strong plain flour
2oz/50g Demerara sugar
200 ml warm water
100 ml milk
pinch of salt
15g fresh yeast
2oz/50g mixed fruit
1oz/25g, cut mixed peel
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
For the glaze::
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoon water (If you want to put a pastry cross on top of each bun, you need to do this with a little short crust pastry)
Using a little water – about 2 tablespoons, mix in the yeast, a teaspoon of the Demerara sugar and allow to froth.
Sieve the flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture and slowly the rest of the water and milk.
Knead until it feels quite silky, and covering the bowl with a damp teacloth, leave to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes. Knead again, this time adding the spice, the fruit and the sugar. Knead until these are distributed.
Divide into 8 – 12 buns (depending on the size you want). If you want to mark with a cross you can do this by either scoring the tops with a sharp knife, or putting the strips of pastry on top.
Allow to rise for 30m minutes, then brush the glaze on top and bake at Gas Mark 7/220ºC/425ºF for about 15 minutes.
Serve cut into halves with a dish of butter at the ready.