Hot cross buns. Hot cross buns. One-a-penny, two-a-penny. Hot cross buns.
Traditionally enjoyed on Good Friday, I thought it would only be fitting to share a recipe for these buns the day before, just in case you need to pick up a few ingredients before the stores close.
Moist, chewy, lightly spiced, and barely sweetened, you don't need to be Catholic to enjoy fresh baked buns.
There are many superstitions surrounding hot cross buns. It is said that buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil during the coming year. Sharing a bun with another is suppose to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if you say, "Half for you and half for me, between us two shall goodwill be." If a bun is hung in a kitchen, it is said to protect against fires. (Interesting little tidbit that resonates me with another hobby of mine, succulents - it is said that sempervivums planted on a roof will ensure your house will not catch fire.)
Feel free to substitute the ground spices in this recipe to suit your taste. I like my hot cross buns well-spiced as I use my own candied Seville orange peel. Seville oranges are very bitter and can stand up to assertive spicy flavours. On the same note, feel free to substitute whatever dried fruit you prefer. Dried currants and raisins are traditional, but chopped apple, dried cherries or toasted nuts would be just as delicious.
To make your buns shiny, use either of two methods: 1 - brush the buns with a beaten egg before baking (and before piping on flour/water paste, if using) or 2 - brush the buns with warmed peach or apricot jam onto the baked buns (before piping on icing, if using).
To make the iconic cross on the buns, use either of two methods: 1 - pipe a paste of flour and water onto the buns before they are placed in the oven (which I use in this recipe) or 2 - pipe a simple icing of powdered sugar and water onto baked and cooled buns.
In this recipe I pipe a flour paste onto the buns in a cross shape before baking then glaze with warmed Elgin Harvest jam after baking.
Hot Cross Buns - Recipe
Makes 12 buns (3- ounce size)
1 c warm milk
1 package (7 grams) active dry yeast
1/2 t sugar
3 1/2 - 4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c brown sugar
1 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t ground allspice
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t salt
6 T unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 c mixed dried fruit (raisins, currants, orange peel, candied lemon, cherries, etc.)
2 T peach or apricot jam (optional) - for glaze
1/2 c flour mixed with 1 T vegetable oil and 1/4 c water - for cross
Eating. Drinking. Sharing.