Nothing says ‘Easter’ like the aroma of freshly baked hot cross buns. I know you can easily buy factory made ones in every supermarket, but making them at home is well worth the effort in terms of flavour and makes the holiday more fun if you involve your children in the baking. These apple and ginger hot cross buns make a delicious alternative to the more traditional mixed spice variety. There is enough dough for twelve buns, it takes about four hours to prep (most of this is proving time don’t worry!) and 20 minutes to bake.
You will need…
- 500g strong white flour
- 75g golden caster sugar
- 10g Allinson’s Easy Bake yeast
- 10g salt
- 2 medium eggs, beaten
- 120ml warm milk plus 60ml water mixed with 40g unsalted butter
- 60 ml tepid water
- 150g sultanas
- 80g chopped stem ginger in syrup or glacé ginger
- 1 ripe dessert apple, peeled and chopped into very small dice lightly coated in a little flour (it will help to knead it into the dough)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon of stem ginger syrup or apricot glaze (warmed apricot jam, sieved to remove any large pieces of fruit or peel).
- Crosses: 75g plain flour made into a paste with 70ml water
- Add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to a large mixing bowl – stir to combine. Add the salt and sugar one side and the yeast to the other. Warm the milk, water and butter to blood temperature (37°C). Add to the dry ingredients along with the beaten eggs, milk and mix to a soft dough. Only add a little more water if the dough is too stiff.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 6 to 10 minutes until smooth and soft. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave it to rise to double its size. This should take about an hour in a warm kitchen but leaving it a little longer won’t matter.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface once more and knead to knock the air out. Scatter over the sultanas, apple and glacé ginger and knead until everything is evenly distributed. Cover again and leave for another hour.
- Tip the dough for the last time. Fold repeatedly until the air is knocked out. Using a palette knife, cut the ball of dough in half and then quarters. Cut each quarter into three equal pieces. You will now have 12 pieces of dough that you can form into a bun shape with your hands.
- Lay the dough balls out onto a non-stick baking tray lined with baking parchment. Place the tray in a clean plastic bag, seal and leave to rest for another hour.
- Heat the oven to 220°C.
- Making the dough for the crosses by mixing 75g plain flour with 70ml of cold water into a paste and put the paste into a piping bag using a medium sized nozzle. Stand the bag in a tall container as above to make it easier to fill the bag.
- Remove the plastic bag from the proved buns and pipe the crosses onto them.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
- Gently warm the stem ginger syrup or apricot jam glaze and brush the tops of the warm buns to give them a brilliant shine. Cool them on a wire rack. Enjoy!
Apricot and cardamon buns: instead of the ground and glacé ginger, mix in 80g chopped dried apricots, the zest of an orange and a lemon, half a teaspoon of ground coriander and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamon seeds.
Classic hot cross buns: instead of the ground and glacé ginger, mix in 80g of mixed peel, the zest of an orange and a lemon, 1 teaspoon of mixed spice.