A delicious traditional spiced, sticky glazed fruit bun with pastry crosses. Served as a classic Easter treat, the buns can also be enjoyed at any time of year.
450g strong white bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
50g caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon easy-blend dried yeast
210ml tepid milk
1 free-range egg
100g mixed dried fruit
25g cut mixed citrus peel
50g plain flour (for the crosses)
1 free-range egg (for the crosses)
30ml milk (for the glaze)
25g caster sugar (for the glaze)
If you have a bread machine, you can start the dough in the machine up to the second proving stage. Add the dried fruit 5 minutes before the end of kneading or when your bread machine beeps.
Sieve the flour, salt, ground mixed spice and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl, then rub in the butter using your fingertips. Make a well in the centre of the mixture, then add the sugar and yeast.
Beat the egg and add to the flour with the tepid milk. Mix together to a form a soft, pliable dough.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Carefully work the mixed dried fruit and mixed peel into the dough until well combined. Knead lightly for 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
Shape the dough into a ball and place it into the buttered/greased mixing bowl, then cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for one hour to prove.
Turn out the proved dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knock back the dough. Shape it into a ball again and return it to the bowl, then cover again with the tea towel and set aside for a further 30 minutes to rise.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten slightly into a bun shape using the palms of your hands. Cover the buns again with the tea towel and set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the mixture for the crosses; mix the flour and egg to a stiff paste, but thin enough to pipe. Make the glaze too - heat the milk and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved and set aside.
Place the hot cross buns onto buttered/greased baking trays, then place the tray/s inside a large oiled polythene bag. Tie the end of the bag tightly so that no air can get in and set aside in a warm place for a further 40 minutes to rise.
Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/Gas 8.
When the buns have risen, remove them from inside the polythene bag, and then spoon the flour and egg mixture into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each bun.
Bake the buns in the pre-heated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until pale golden-brown, and when turned over and tapped on the underneath they sound hollow. As soon as you remove the buns from the oven, brush them with the sugar and milk syrup, then set aside to cool on a wire rack.
Serve warm, split and spread with butter, or serve toasted, split and spread with butter. The cooked buns can be frozen for up to 3 months; allow 6 hours for them to defrost and serve as above.
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