Slightly sweet, with juicy raisins and spices, nothing quite compares to a traditional hot cross bun lightly toasted with melted butter. Make them in five steps with this easy recipe.
This was originally written several years ago, but has been updated with new photography, writing and improved recipe.
Slightly sweet, with juicy raisins and dried fruit, nothing quite compares to a traditional hot cross bun lightly toasted with melted butter and a small dollop of jam. Rather than buying them, get your kids involved and make some traditional hot cross buns from scratch, with this easy five-step recipe. You will get some light and airy buns that are better than anything you will get in the shop.
Springtime makes me think of the garden coming to life, Easter, great walks, and also good hot cross buns. But store-bought hot cross buns always seem too soft, largely thanks to added gluten. So, long ago I started making my own. Recently I made some with Thing 2, and he loved making them. Especially being able to help turn on the stand mixer (although he was upset at not being able to turn it on full whack). He also liked helping roll the dough into balls, but then found it far more exciting to smush the dough between his hands. Something very satisfying about sitting down to enjoy a warm hot cross bun you’ve made your kids. Even if some of them were a bit smushed.
· Strong bread flour
· White sugar
· Fast acting yeast
· Mixed peel
· Earl Grey tea
· Orange zest
· Apricot Jam
Let’s make Hot Cross Buns
You can make hot cross buns in five easy steps
- Take a package of raisins and sultanas (with some mixed peel) and soak it in a small bowl of hot water (about ½ cup) and two bags of earl grey tea. This needs to soak for at least an hour or two.
- Boil some milk on the stove, which will help change the chemistry of the milk. When it is finished toss in the butter and let the whole mixture cool. The cooled milk/butter gets mixed in with the flour, salt, sugar and an egg. The whole combination is kneaded, and frankly fairly wet for a dough. Stick this in an oiled bowl and let rise for an hour in a warm place.
- Once the dough has risen it is time to fold in the cinnamon, orange peel and earl grey fruit. The dough will deflate a bit, but it is crucial to get a fairly even distribution of fruit and spice. After another rise (1 hour again), it gets divided into 16 pieces and final rise.
- Using a piping bag you can cross the buns with the flour/water mixture to make the cross. Then bake for 15-20min, until the buns are golden.
- Once cooked, take the buns out and immediately brush with the apricot jam while still warm. Cool and then enjoy!
Can hot cross buns be frozen?
Once they are completely cooled you can freeze them for about a month or so. Just be sure to let them defrost completely before toasting.
Where do hot cross buns come from?
While it is debatable where Hot Cross Buns originated, they gained most of their popularity in England, Some Historians trace its origins back to Elizabethan England.
When are hot cross buns eaten?
Hot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten between Shrove Tuesday and Good Friday, although you should be eating them any time of the year!
How do you make the cross on hot cross buns?
In previous attempts, I messed up the cross on the top. Essentially, it is a combination of flour and water. A little research online said it should be mixed until thick. Except I did this last time, and it didn’t work. Instead, I made it a bit more syrupy, and it worked like a charm.
What food goes well with Hot Cross Buns
- Plum Jam for a delicious spread
- Poached Eggs – Great on top of a toasted hot cross bun
- Hot Cross Bun Ice Cream sandwich – Veggie Desserts
Tea, my personal favourite is Yorkshire Gold with a splash of milk. If you can get yourself a box of this do it!
Check out the music (LINK) page for some ready playlists, such as the Classic Kitchen playlist. Perfect to listen too while relaxing with some buns!
Earl Grey & Orange hot cross buns
- 300 ml milk
- 50 g butter
- 500 g strong white or all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 75 g caster/white sugar
- 7 g fast action yeast
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 125 g sultanas/raisins and mixed peel combo
- zest of 1 orange
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 Earl grey tea bags
- 125 ml boiling water
- 2-3 Tbsp of smooth apricot jam
- 4-5 tbsp of flour
- Combine the water, tea and sultana mix and let stand for 1-2 hours.
- Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Mix and set aside.
- Heat the milk until it boils, toss in the butter and cool until you can comfortably put your finger into it. Then pour this into flour along with a beaten egg.
- Knead this rather wet dough and place into an oiled bowl, let rise for 1 hour.
- Carefully drain the sultanas, and mix this along with the orange peel and cinnamon into the dough. After a good distribution, let rise again.
- After an hour divide into 15-16 pieces and arrange on a baking tray. Turn on your oven to 220C (200C if a convection/fan oven). Let the pieces rise for a further hour.
- Mix the 4-5 tbsp of flour with water until smooth like syrup. Use this to create the classic crosses on top. Then place into the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Heat the jam so it is runny, and when the buns have a good light brown colour take out and brush with the jam. Cool on a rack and then devour!