Hot cross buns are traditionally served on Good Friday and are extremely popular in the UK, nowadays being available in supermarkets all year around. Sweet, lightly spiced and containing either currants, raisins or sultanas, they can be easily recognised by the cross on top, which symbolises the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. A must-have Easter dessert!!
When l first came to the UK, l did not know much about traditional food over here. The only one l was aware of was the English breakfast, which l got to love straight away. So the very first Easter l spent here was certainly a big surprise to me in terms of what English people like to eat. I must say l was not very impressed with the hot cross buns at first, partly because l probably did not have some proper ones to get the very best taste. You can find hot cross buns in supermarkets usually in packets of 6 for as little as £0,75. Cheap price, cheap taste. They look quite sad as well. Some proper baking was required.
Can you believe that these lovely buns can be traced as far back as the 12th century? It seems they didn’t become that popular until a lot later, but nowadays many people can’t think of Easter without these pretty little things. As it happens, baking them is actually simple, and l can’t possibly buy them anymore when l can make myself a big batch of some delicious hot cross buns. They really are lovely, especially with some butter. They are also great toasted, especially if you happen to have some left the following day when they are not as fresh anymore. As for the ingredients used, you probably have most of them in your kitchen anyway. I only used lemon zest to bring even more flavour, but feel free to use oranges as well, and any other dry fruit if you don’t have currants.
Hot cross buns, a delicious Easter treat that is so flavourful.
- 500 g strong white flour
- 80 g sugar
- 2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
- 1/2 tso ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 275 ml full-fat milk
- 50 g butter
- zest of one lemon
- 1/2 cup currants
- 35 g plain flour
- 50 ml water
- 2 tbsp apricot jam
In a large bowl, combine the strong white flour, lemon zest, sugar, cinnamon, currants and yeast.
Melt the butter and warm up the milk.
Lightly beat the egg with salt, and add it to the milk and butter.
Add the mixture to the flour bowl and knead well for at least 5 minutes until you get an elastic dough that does not stick to the hands.
Oil the bowl and place the dough in it. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for about 2 hours until double in size.
Divide the dough into 12 balls and arrange them on a baking tray pretty close together and flattening them slightly. Leave to prove for one hour so that they can double their size.
In a bowl, combine the plain flour with water to get a smooth thick paste.
Using a piping bag, pipe a cross on each bun, then bake in the preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and brush each the buns with apricot jam for a nice shine.
Each oven can be different, so do keep an eye on the buns as they might need less time to bake.