Hot cross buns

ABC NSW radio 1233 with Carol Duncan on Monday 29 March 2010

No longer only sold on Good Friday, these sweet, spicy fruity buns are hard to resist.

Traditionally they were made with flour, milk, yeast, sugar, eggs, butter, dried fruit, such as sultanas, currants, raisins, mixed peel and delicately spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and/or cloves. Modern recipes vary considerably and often include apricots, figs, cranberries, blueberries and cherries, nuts and even chocolate. So, why not try making your own?

Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup (250ml) milk

1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar

4 teaspoons (14g) dry yeast

4 cups (600g) plain flour

2 teaspoons ground mixed spice

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup mixed dried fruit

1 egg, lightly beaten

60g butter, melted, cooled

1/2 cup (125ml) warm water

Flour paste

1/3 cup (50g) plain flour

1 tablespoon caster sugar

1/4 cup (60ml) water

Glaze

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon mixed spice (optional)

Method

  • Stir milk and sugar in a saucepan over low heat until lukewarm. Turn off heat. Stir in yeast, then stand on stovetop for 10 minutes or until mixture is foamy.
  • Sift flour, spice and salt into a bowl. Stir in fruit. Add yeast mixture, egg and butter then stir until mixture forms a dough. Knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  • Divide dough into 16 pieces and shape into balls. Place in a lightly greased or baking paper lined 23cm square cake tin. Cover with plastic wrap then stand in a warm place for 20-30 minutes or until risen to the top of the pan.
  • Preheat oven to 200°C. Combine flour paste ingredients until smooth. Spoon mixture into a piping bag (or into a freezer bag and snip off the corner with scissors). Pipe crosses over each bun.
  • Bake for 10 minutes then reduce oven to 180°C and bake for 15-20 minutes or until well risen and golden. (They’re ready when they sound hollow when tapped). Turn on to a wire rack to cool.
  • Combine glaze ingredients in a small saucepan over moderate heat until sugar dissolves then boil 1-2 minutes until thickened. Brush hot syrup over top of buns. Serve.

Notes: For a firmer structure the plain flour could be replaced with the higher protein Bread Flour and 1 tablespoon of bread improver could also be added.

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