Martha's cherry & almond hot cross buns

Beautifully soft buns with studs of melted marzipan and tart sour cherries, finished with a sticky amaretto glaze. A grown-up version of a traditional Easter treat

  • Preparation time: 30 minutes + proving
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes to 20 minutes
  • Total time: 45 minutes to 50 minutes 50 minutes

Makes: 10 large buns

Ingredients

250ml whole milk
40g butter
1 medium Waitrose British Blacktail Free Range Egg
500g strong white bread flour
75g caster sugar
10g salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
10g fast-action yeast
40g sultanas
25g mixed peel
150g dried sour cherries
75g marzipan, chopped finely

For the paste:
2 tbsp caster sugar
50g ground almonds
50g plain flour

For the glaze:
50ml Disaronno Amaretto
50ml water
100g caster sugar
Flaked almonds, toasted, to decorate 

Method

1. Place the milk and butter into a saucepan and gently warm through until the butter has melted. Set to one side to cool to hand temperature. Beat in the egg.

2. Put the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar, salt and cinnamon to one side of the bowl, and the yeast to the other. Using the dough hook on medium speed, slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the flour and mix for 4-5 minutes, or until a smooth and elastic dough has formed. You might not need to add all the milk or you might need a splash more to clean the inside of the bowl.

3. When the dough feels soft and silky, place it in a lightly oiled bowl and leave to rise for at least 1 hour or until doubled in size.

4. Mix the sultanas, mixed peel, sour cherries and marzipan together in a small bowl. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently. Sprinkle the dried fruit over the dough and knead until the fruit is evenly incorporated. Put the dough back into the bowl and leave to rise for a further hour.

5. Line one or two baking trays with baking parchment. Tip the dough onto the work surface and fold it repeatedly over itself to knock out any large pockets of air. Divide the dough into 10 pieces and use a cupped hand to roll them into balls. Evenly space the dough on the prepared baking trays, leaving enough room for them to double in size. Place the tray inside a large plastic bag and leave for 30 minutes or until the buns are noticeably larger. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6.

6. For the almond crosses, mix the sugar, almonds and flour with enough water to make a loose paste. Transfer the paste to a piping bag and pipe a thin line in a cross shape over each bun. Bake in a hot oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

7. For the glaze, heat the amaretto, water and sugar in a small saucepan on a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved – about 2-3 minutes. When the syrup drips off the spoon in a thin stream, the glaze is ready. Don’t be tempted to over-boil it or it will be too sticky
to spread on the buns.

8. While the buns are still hot, use a pastry brush to apply the glaze all over. Sprinkle over the toasted almonds. Transfer to a wire rack
to cool before enjoying as they are or toasted and laden with butter!