Traditional Hot Cross Buns Recipe, sweet, lightly spiced, and so fluffy, the very best Easter treat. They are so soft, baked to perfection, and so much better than the store-bought buns. Great on their own, or toasted and served with butter and jam, these hot cross buns are absolutely delicious.
When l first came to the UK, l did not know much about the traditional food over there. 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 there 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 of.
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. Homemade buns are fluffy, soft, and delicious, so why not bake some ourselves?
Apart from the proving part, the buns are super simple to make, and they require simple ingredients that you certainly have around. The double proving is essential though for perfectly fluffy and well-risen buns, so do not rush that!
What are hot cross buns?
Hot cross buns are spiced sweet buns made with currants or raisins, marked with a cross on top made with flour and water, and traditionally served on Good Friday. 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.
How to make traditional hot cross buns
It might not be a quick recipe, but it certainly is easy.
- in a large bowl, sift the flour, add the sugar, salt, yeast, lemon zest, cinnamon and currants
- separately, beat the egg with a pinch of salt, add the cooled melted butter and milk
- mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients
- knead into a dough for at least 5 minutes, until the dough is elastic and stretchy
- leave to rise for at least 2 hours or until doubled in size
- divide the dough into 10 balls, and arrange them close together on a baking tray
- leave to rise for another hour
- combine the flour with water, and use a piping bag to pipe crosses on the buns
- bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until golden
How to make the cross on top of the hot cross buns
The flour mixture is thicker, but runny, so that it can be easily piped onto the buns. Place the mixture into a piping bag, and draw a straight line across all the buns horizontally, then draw another line vertically. There is no need for individual crosses, it's actually easier to make the crosses on all buns at once.
As it happens, baking them is simple, and l can't possibly buy them anymore when l can make myself a big batch of some delicious hot cross buns.
How to serve hot cross buns
Once the buns are out of the oven, glaze them with apricot jam, that brings extra flavour, and makes the buns nice and shiny. I like serving them warm, but cold are also nice. They are also great toasted, especially if you happen to have some left the following day when they are not as fresh anymore.
These buns can be enjoyed for breakfast with some nice butter on them and some seriously nice cup of tea. Or coffee. I can almost smell the amazing aroma that fills the kitchen when they come out of the oven.
They are fluffy, light, and heavenly delicious. The kind of treat I could have any morning, all year around, not just for Easter. If you like hot cross buns, why not give the delicious Afternoon Tea Scones a go? They might not necessarily be an Easter treat, but they surely go down well for an Easter brunch or breakfast too. Give them a go, you will love them too!
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Traditional Hot Cross Buns Recipe
- 500 g strong white flour
- 80 g sugar
- 2 teaspoon fast-action dried yeast
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 275 ml full-fat milk
- 50 g butter
- 1 egg
- zest of one lemon
- ½ cup currants
- 35 g plain flour
- 50 ml water
- 2 tablespoon 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 a pinch of 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 10 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 (390 Fahrenheit) for about 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and brush each the buns with apricot jam for a nice shine.
- Every oven can be different, so do keep an eye on the buns as they might need longer time to bake. If they brown too quickly on top, move the baking tray to the middle rack.
- Click on the US Customary link to see the measurements displayed in cups and ounces.
- The servings can be adjusted by clicking the number next to Servings.