Hot cross buns
When it comes to Easter, you can’t beat indulging in a lovely, sticky hot cross bun.
200ml lite milk
55 g unsalted butter
2 x 7g sachets of dried yeast
455g strong bread flour , plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 whole nutmeg , for grating
55g caster sugar
2 balls of stem ginger
1 large free-range egg
2 tablespoons plain flour
55g sultanas or raisins
30g dried cranberries
2 tablespoons mixed peel
- Add the milk and 50ml water to a small pan and place over a low heat for a few minutes, or until slightly warm – you should be able to dip your finger in without scalding it.
- Add the butter to a separate pan and place over a low heat for a few minutes, or until melted, then set aside.
- Transfer the warmed milk mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the yeast.
- Sift the flour into a large bowl, then add 1 teaspoon of sea salt, the spices, a few good scrapings of nutmeg and the sugar. Finely chop the stem ginger and stir it into the mix.
- Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter, followed by the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add it to the bowl.
- Using a fork, mix well until you have a rough dough, then transfer to a clean flour dusted work surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until soft and springy.
- Return the dough to a flour-dusted bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for at least an hour, or until doubled in size.
- Transfer the dough to a clean flour dusted work surface. Knock the air out by bashing it with your fist, then sprinkle over the dried fruit and mixed peel and knead into the dough for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/Gas 5. Grease and line a large baking tray.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a ball, evenly spacing them out on the tray as you go.
- Cover with the tea towel and leave in a warm place for a further 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Place the plain flour and 2 tablespoons water into a small bowl and mix to a thick paste.
- Gently pat down the risen buns then use the batter to carefully trace a cross over the top with a piping bag or spoon.
- Place the buns into the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Transfer to a wire cooling rack, brush over a little honey to glaze, then leave to cool.
- Slice open the sticky hot cross buns, spread with a little butter and serve – delicious.
• Swap the raisins and dried cranberries for your favourite dried fruit, if you prefer – when I fancy a change, I love chopped dried apricots or sour cherries.
• If you want to keep the buns lovely and fresh for longer, soak the dried fruit in fruit juice for a couple of hours beforehand.
Recipe courtesy of Jamie Oliver