I’m a bit late with Easter recipes, but I finally made the perfect Hot Cross Bun and felt for posterity I should share it (anyway, better late than never… Right?). The final recipe was a bit of an accident; following a recipe from Taste.com.au I accidentally grabbed the self-raising instead of the plain flour and didn’t notice until I was kneading the dough. The result was a bun light and fluffy as a commercial one without the gluey mouthfeel.
So, ingredients were: 4 cups of self-raising flour; 2 sachets of dried yeast (14g in total); 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons caster sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice; pinch of salt; 1 1/2 cups of raisins or similar dried fruit; 40g butter; 300mL milk; 2 eggs – lightly beaten; and 1/3 cup of water.
Combine the flour, yeast, the 1/4 cup measure of sugar, mixed spice and salt in a large bowl. Melt butter in a saucepan then add milk and heat until lukewarm. Add to the flour mix then add the eggs. Stir until the dough begins to come together.
Now comes the fun part – kneading! Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic (add in extra flour if the dough is too sticky). I usually leave the dough to rise in the mixing bowl (once I’ve roughly scraped it out then lightly greased it with vegetable oil) in a warm place – like in a sunny spot by a window, covered with a clean tea towel or plastic film.
Next, line a baking tray with baking paper. Then another fun bit – punching down the dough, then kneading again. Knead in the dried fruit until it’s evenly distributed through the dough. Roll dough into a thick sausage then cut into about 16 pieces, roll into balls then place about 1 cm apart on the tray. Leave to rise for about 30 minutes.
If you want to add a cross, mix 1/4 cup flour, vanilla essence and orange rind with enough water to make a clingy paste. Slash the top of the risen buns to make a cross, then pipe the flour paste into the split.
Put the Hot Cross Buns in a 190°C oven for 20-25 minutes. Once they’re in the oven, heat the 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/3 cup of water until sugar dissolves. Leave to boil for a couple of minutes then brush over the buns as soon as they come out of the oven.
You just can’t beat fresh Hot Cross Buns warm from the oven, halved and topped with melting wedges of butter.