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    Hot Cross Buns 2006

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    Hot Cross Buns 2006

    Spices, butter and sugar can slow down the fermentation, so extra yeast is needed in this recipe, and a slow rise overnight in the refrigerator to make a moist, light bun that won't go stale within hours of baking. For a change, you can try replacing the orange zest with lemon zest and use caraway seeds in place of the mixed spice. Or make it into a stollen by rolling the dough into an oval and laying 150g golden marzipan down the centre, then folding the dough over. After baking, brush with melted butter and dredge with icing sugar.

    • Vegetarian
    • Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus 15 hours resting
    • Cooking time: 35 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes, plus 15 hours resting 20 minutes

    Makes: 8 large buns


    • Crosses
    • 2 tbsp plain flour
    • 1-2 tbsp water
    • 2 tsp easy-blend dry yeast
    • 50ml warm water
    • 300g strong white flour
    • 75g unsalted butter, melted
    • 2 level tsp mixed spice
    • 100g wholemeal flour
    • 1½ tsp fine salt
    • Zest ½ orange
    • 275ml warm whole milk
    • 250g mixed dried fruit
    • 3 tbsp golden syrup
    • Sugar Glaze
    • 100g golden caster sugar
    • 100ml water
    • A few drops of lemon juice


    1. Rinse a teacup with boiling water, then dry. Add the yeast, warm water and 2 tsp flour. Stir this together and leave for 15 minutes until it foams.
    2. Melt the butter with the mixed spice in a pan over a low heat until they sizzle gently, then remove from the heat and cool. Place the flours, salt and orange zest in a bowl, add the spiced butter and rub this in. Combine milk, dried fruit and golden syrup, tip this in along with the yeast mixture. Scrunch it together really well with your fingers, digging down to the bottom of the bowl to avoid trapping a floury layer. When everything is evenly combined, scrape any dough from your fingers, cover the bowl tightly, and refrigerate for 12 hours.
    3. The next morning, remove the dough from the fridge and divide into 8 pieces of just over 100g each. Lightly flour the work surface and, one by one, pat each piece flat, then fold it in upon itself towards you.
    4. Rotate the piece an eighth, turn, then repeat the fold and turn 12 times - this will effectively knead and smooth it. When all are kneaded, place to one side while you line a 20cm x 30cm tray with baking parchment.
    5. Finally, flour and cup one hand and roll each dough piece to make a smooth ball. Space them 2-3cm apart on the tray. Cover and leave for 2½-3 hours in a warm place until doubled in height.
    6. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Mix the flour and water together until smooth for the crosses. Brush the tops of the buns with a little milk and pipe the crosses over the top. Bake for 35 minutes until risen and brown on top. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
    7. Meanwhile, make the glaze by bringing the sugar and water to the boil in a small saucepan. Simmer for a few minutes until syrupy, then remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Cool and brush over the tops of the buns while warm.

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