About this recipe:An Easter favourite! These hot cross buns are relatively easy to make and are infinitely more delicious than anything bought in the shops. Experiment and add chocolate chips or chopped apple to your buns, or you could even soak the raisins overnight in some tea and add a little orange zest - the options are endless!
Makes: 12 hot cross buns
For the buns
310ml warm milk (43 degrees C)
60g caster sugar
2 (7g) sachets dried active dried yeast
600g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
250g raisins or sultanas
For the crosses and glaze
60g plain flour
2 tablespoons apricot jam, warmed and strained
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In a bowl, whisk together the milk, sugar and yeast until all the sugar has dissolved. Cover and set aside until the yeast has activated and the mixture has become frothy.
In a large bowl sift together the flour, salt, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. With your fingers rub in the butter until the result looks like fine breadcrumbs.
Stir into the flour mixture the raisins, eggs and frothy yeast then mix until all are combined. Bring the mixture together into a dough.
On a lightly floured surface knead the dough for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Transfer dough to a large lightly oiled bowl then cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes to prove or until the dough has doubled in size.
Remove the risen dough from the bowl and knock it back with your fist. Slightly knead then either divide into 12 buns, or if you wish to add other ingredients such as apple or chocolate chips to some of your buns then divide the dough into 3 sections, add the ingredients accordingly then create 4 buns from each section. You should have 12 buns total, whichever option you choose.
Preheat the oven to 200 C / Gas 6. Grease a 20x30cm deep cake tin.
Place the buns neatly in rows into the prepared baking tin; cover with cling film then leave in a warm place to rise for 15 minutes.
For the crosses and glaze:
Whisk together the flour and water to form a smooth paste. Transfer to a piping bag, then carefully pipe a cross onto the top of each bun.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180 C / Gas 4 and bake for a further 15 minutes until risen and golden.
Straight after removing the buns from the oven brush with the warmed apricot jam and serve.
If you wish, you could pipe melted chocolate crosses onto your chocolate chip hot cross bun variations!