The best tear & share hot cross buns

The best tear & share hot cross buns

Martha Collison's hot cross bun recipe is close to the classic version featuring dried fruits and spices, but there are alternatives (see Cook's tip). These are created to tear and share, but use the larger tin size mentioned in the recipe for conventional separate ones.

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Vegetarian
  • Makes12
  • CourseSnack
  • Prepare30 mins
  • Cook20 mins
  • Total time50 mins
  • Plusrising

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Ingredients

  • 50g mixed peel
  • 150g sultanas
  • 50ml Earl Grey tea, strong and hot
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 200ml whole milk, plus extra if needed
  • 1 British Blacktail Free Range Medium Egg
  • 600g strong white bread flour, plus extra for shaping
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 10g salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 10g fast action yeast
  • 1 orange, scrubbed, zest
  • Vegetable oil, for greasing
  • 30g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp clear honey

Method

  1. Put the mixed peel and sultanas into a small bowl, then pour over the tea and leave to soak for 15 minutes. Melt the butter in a pan, then remove from the heat and add the milk and 125ml warm water. Beat in the egg, then set aside.

  2. Put the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar, salt, cinnamon and mixed spice. Mix together, then add the yeast and orange zest. Drain the sultanas and mixed peel (discard the liquid) and add to the bowl. Using the dough hook on medium speed, slowly pour the milk mixture in and knead for 4-5 minutes, or until a smooth, elastic dough forms. You may not need all the liquid, or you might need a splash more milk to clean any floury patches in the bowl. The dough will be sticky, but don’t be tempted to add extra flour at this stage.

  3. When the dough feels soft and silky, place it in a lightly oiled, covered bowl and leave to rise in a warm place (near the boiler, next to the oven or in an airing cupboard) for 1-2 hours, or until almost doubled in size. Line a baking tray with baking parchment – the maximum size of the tray should be 30x23cm, but something slightly smaller is preferable so they join together as they bake.

  4. Tip the risen dough onto a lightly floured work surface and fold it over itself to knock out any large pockets of air. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces and, using a cupped hand, roll into balls. Evenly space the dough on the prepared baking tray, setting them about 2cm apart. Cover loosely and leave for 1 hour, or until the buns are larger. Just before baking, preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6.

  5. For the crosses, mix the 30g plain flour with 2-2½ tbsp water to make a loose paste. Transfer the paste to a piping bag, then pipe a cross shape over each bun and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown all over. Use a pastry brush to paint the honey over the tops while the buns are still hot. Serve warm or cold – they’re delicious toasted too.

Cook’s tip

For variations, you can try chocolate orange, by replacing the sultanas (and tea) with 150g dark chocolate chips and grate in the zest of an extra orange to increase the citrus flavour. Brush with warmed fine-cut marmalade instead of honey. Another alternative is pecan caramel. Replace the mixed peel, sultanas and tea with 100g chopped pecan nuts and 100g finely chopped Werther’s Original Butter Candies. Use light brown soft sugar instead of caster sugar. Brush with golden syrup or salted caramel sauce instead of honey.

Nutritional

Typical values per item when made using specific products in recipe

Energy

1,280kJ/ 303kcals

Fat

5.3g

Saturated Fat

2.9g

Carbohydrates

55g

Sugars

18g

Fibre

3.4g

Protein

7.7g

Salt

1g

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