Hot Cross Buns

Country of origin: England?

I was meant to make Hot Cross Buns in time for Easter but missed the boat. However, I refuse to wait until next Good Friday to try these (In Elizabethan times, this may have gotten me in a lot of trouble!). In England these are sold year-round and I think therefore a little unappreciated. They are first cousins of the equally delicious teacake which is also served split, toasted and buttered.

There are many recipes around for these buns, some with really short proofing times for the yeast (Delia Smith’s recipe) and at the other end of the scale, 12 hours. My quest for the perfect Hot Cross Bun recipe is not over, but this was a fair start. Simon Rimmer’s recipe starts with strong white bread flour being combined with other dry ingredients such as spices and dried fruit. Butter and milk are then heated, an egg is whisked in and this liquid is poured onto the dry ingredients. Once the dough is kneaded there’s the 12-hour wait, after which you can pipe on the crosses as below (warning: the flour, sugar and water mixture is very gloopy).

The buns are then baked for about 20 minutes and then brushed with a warm glaze. I used apricot jam rather than marmalade for a bit of extra sharpness. Although these buns cooked well, and look the part, they just weren’t sweet enough for me; perhaps more raisins and/or sugar would do the job.