I’m not a particularly superstitious person, but I do enjoy following those superstitions which exude positivity and hope… like wishing on a falling star.
There seem to be dozens of stories and superstitions related to the humble hot cross bun. But my favourite by far, avouches that sharing the bun with a loved one guarantees friendship in the coming year. Nowadays, I figure that to be especially true if the hot cross buns are ‘made by me’. What’s more.. I hope that the sharing of a hot cross bun recipe will weave the same magic. So here goes..
Now, I didn’t want to send out a recipe to make the same-old hot cross buns that you can easily buy at your local supermarket. So I’ve added a few niceties to make them extra special. Also, you will notice that this recipe includes an additional step – The Roux. This is an essential step in creating light and fluffy buns. It may seem tedious at first..but it is well worth the effort.
Lastly, because the dough is very soft, it is best made in a stand mixer. It can be kneaded by hand, but this can be a bit tricky as it is very sticky.
Ingredients for the Fruit Mix
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup currants
Juice and zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp dark rum, or other liqueur (optional)
1/2 tbsp ground ginger
Ingredients for the dough
65g + 550g bakers flour
320ml cold water
50g unsalted butter
50g caster sugar
1 sachet (7g) dry yeast
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup flour
Apricot jam (optional)
Step 1: To be prepared in advance
Combine the sultanas, currants, orange, rum and ginger. Allow to steep for at least an hour or overnight in the fridge.
Step 2: Preparing the Roux
In a small saucepan, combine 65g flour with the water. Stirring continuously over the heat, bring the mixture to the boil. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the sugar, milk and butter. Stir to combine, then set aside.
Allow the mixture to cool to a luke warm temperature, before proceeding with the next step.
Kneading the dough:
In a bowl, combine the remaining flour, spices, salt, yeast, and fruit. Add the roux and egg. Using the dough hook attachment, set the machine on a slow setting for 7 minutes. Then increase the speed to medium for 1 minute.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size (approx 1.5 hours).
Line a deep 22 x 22cm baking tray with baking paper.
Punch down dough and tip onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly and roll into a log. Divide into 16 equal sized pieces. Using lightly floured hands, roll each piece into a ball and place on the tray, so that the edges of the balls are touching each other. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside for 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
For the crosses, you can either gently score a cross shape into the dough using a sharp knife, or opt for the traditional white cross design.
Simply combine the flour for the crosses with enough water to make a paste. (it should not be runny). Spoon it into a small icing bag fitted with plain nozzle. Alternatively, you can use a plastic ziplock bag, and snip one corner with scissors. Pipe crosses onto buns.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with apricot jam whilst still hot. Happy Easter!!