I saw Mary Berry’s Easter television programme and she made making hot cross buns look wonderfully simple (I should know by now that she makes everything look easy) so I, perhaps foolishly, thought I’d give them a go myself. They are very time-consuming, but actually surprisingly rewarding. In fact, you can spend most of the time with your feet up because they have to prove for a total of nearly 2.5 hours, during which time there is nothing you can or should be doing except recovering from all that kneading. I really am no bread expert, but I reckon if you knead for a solid 10 minutes you can’t go too wrong. The recipe comes from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/mary_berrys_hot_cross_65003, although I have made some slight adjustments as I like to add my own twist on things, so you’ll see I’ve introduced a salted caramel and chocolate variety into half the batch, alongside the traditional fruit.
Ingredients to make 12-16 hot cross buns:
- 500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting (£0.95 for 1.5kg, Tesco)
- 75g caster sugar (£0.99 for 500g, Tesco)
- 2 tsp ground mixed spice (£0.85, Tesco)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon (£0.85, Tesco)
- 1 lemon, finely grated zest only (£0.35, Tesco)
- 10g salt (£0.29 for 750g, Tesco)
- 10g fast-action dried yeast (£0.83, Tesco)
- 40g butter (£0.85 for 250g, Tesco)
- 300ml milk (£0.75 of 2 pints, Tesco)
- 1 egg, beaten (£0.89 for 6, Tesco)
- oil, for greasing (£1.10 for 1 litre, Tesco)
for the fruit variety:
- 100g sultanas (£1.54 for 500g, Tesco)
- grated zest of an orange (£0.30, Tesco)
for the chocolate and salted caramel ones:
- 100g dark chocolate (£0.80 for 150g, Tesco)
- salted caramel sauce (£1.50, Tesco)
For the topping:
- 75g plain flour (£0.40 for 500g, Tesco)
- 2 tbsp golden syrup, for glazing (£1.15 for 454g, Tesco)
- Put the flour, sugar, spices and lemon zest into a large bowl and mix together. Then add the salt and yeast, placing them on opposite sides of the bowl.
- Melt the butter in the microwave, and gently warm the milk in a saucepan. Watch out because the milk will heat up quickly! Then add the butter and half of the milk to the dry ingredients. Add the egg and use your hands to bring all the mixture together. Gradually add the remaining milk, to form a soft pliable dough (you may not need all of the milk).
- Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface. If you want to do both fruit and chocolate/caramel variety, split the dough into two roughly equal portions. Take one of the doughs and knead in the chopped chocolate and two tablespoons of salted caramel (this will be rater messy!). Lightly kneed for about 10 minutes until the dough is silky and elastic and forms a smooth ball. Repeat with the other dough, this time adding the sultanas and orange zest.
- Oil two bowls and place one dough in each, cover with cling film and leave to rest in a warm place for about 1½ hours or until doubled in size.
- Turn the two doughs out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide each dough into roughly 6/8 balls, making 12/16 in total. Line 2 baking trays with paper and place the balls on the tray, placing them fairly close together and flattening them slightly.
- Slip each baking tray into a large clean polythene bag, making sure the bag doesn’t touch the buns. If you don’t have a bag use two plastic carrier bags and pull them up at the middle. Leave for 40-60 minutes until the buns have doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7.
- For the topping, add the flour to a bowl with 100ml water. Mix together to make a paste and separate into two bowls. Add the juice of half an orange to one and two teaspoons of salted caramel sauce to the other, then put the two icings into bags. (To make things easier you can just stick to the one, plain topping).
- When the buns have risen remove the bags and pipe a cross on each bun. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pale golden-brown, turning the baking trays round halfway through if necessary.
- Melt the golden syrup in a pan and while the fruit buns are still warm, brush them with a little syrup to give a nice shine, before setting aside to cool on a wire rack. For the chocolate buns melt a little of the salted caramel sauce and brush them with that.
Total cooking and preparation time: about 3.5 hours all in all
Cost per bun: roughly £5 to make them all, making them cost about £0.25 each!
A long process, but I enjoy a good day baking 🙂 let me know what you’re making for Easter!