Hot Cross Buns


Easter time is always a nice little break from routine, it's also a time when many remember the great sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for all mankind - for me it is an opportunity to pause and be grateful for such grace and love. Wherever you are and whatever Easter times means for you, here's my delicious recipe for another Easter time tradition, Hot Cross Buns. They are fun to make and bake yourself and just wonderful served warm with butter, my sister-in-law Jane calls them my "posh hot buns" !

'A hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun made with currants or raisins, marked with a cross on the top, and traditionally eaten on Good Friday in England, Australia, British Isles, Canada, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and some parts of America. The buns mark the end of Lent and different parts of the hot cross bun have a certain meaning, including the cross representing the crucifixion and the spices inside signifying the spices used to embalm him at his burial.'
- Wikipedia - 

My Easter buns are filled with spice, dried fruit and a little rosemary from my neighbour Kerry’s herb garden. Best served straight from the oven, deliciously warm, smothered with lots and lots of butter. 

makes 16
what you need
4½ cups (585g) white spelt flour, plus extra for kneading
14g dried yeast
¼ cup (40g) rapadura sugar
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves finely chopped
½ cup (80g) currants
½ cup (80g) raisins
½ cup (80g) sultanas
50g butter, softened
2 eggs, lightly beaten
300ml full cream milk or natural yoghurt
flour paste:
75g white spelt flour
½ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
¼ cup (60ml) milk
1 ½ tbsp orange blossom water
½ cup (125ml) water
1 tbsp maple syrup

what you do
1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the butter, eggs and milk or yoghurt and use your hands to mix to a soft dough. (This can be done in a mixer, if you have one with a large bowl and dough hook attachment.) The dough should be moist but not sticky. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 3-5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
2. Transfer to a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel, and leave in a warm place for at least 30 minutes (or up to one hour), until doubled in size.
3. Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan forced) and line a baking tray with a sheet of non-stick baking paper. Remove the dough from the bowl to a floured surface and knead for 30 seconds. Divide dough into 16 portions (weighing approx 100g each). Roll each portion into a ball and place on the tray about 1cm apart. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for 15 - 30 minutes until doubled in size and buns are now touching each other.
4. To make the flour paste, mix ingredients to a wet paste and place into a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle, or a plastic bag with the corner cut off. Pipe the mixture into the shape of a cross, onto each bun. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.
5. Meanwhile, for the glaze, place the water and maple syrup into a small saucepan, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes to form a glaze. Generously brush glaze over the hot buns as soon as they come out of the oven. Serve the hot cross buns warm, with lots of butter. Happy Easter!

©Jane Grover  
Recipe from Our Delicious Adventure – Recipes and Stories of Food and Travel