Hot Cross Buns

The humble hot cross bun, love them or loath them, they are very much a symbol of Easter. The history of the bun is much debated, with the Greeks laying claim to being the first to bake the glazed buns.

Whatever the initial meaning of the bun and cross, it has become synonymous with Easter and the cross as a symbol of the crucifixion. The religious connotations of the hot cross bun nearly split a nation, with Protestant England trying ban the baking of the buns but they proved too popular. Elizabeth I relented and passed a law allowing the buns to be sold, but only at Easter and Christmas.

These days, there are many different varieties, with chocolate hot cross buns becoming more popular, especially with children. Why not try making your own this Easter and maybe come up with your own variation? Use our simple hot cross bun recipe as a starting point.

Makes 8

225g of plain flour
25g of margarine
40g of sugar
150mls of milk
6g of fast action dried yeast
55g of mixed dried fruit
25g of mixed chopped peel
2 teaspoons of mixed spice
1 teaspoon of salt

For the crosses
25g butter
55g plain flour
4 tablespoons water

Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl and rub in the margarine until it looks breadcrumbs.
Add the yeast, peel, fruit, sugar and spice and stir. Warm the milk and add to mixture and mix to form a soft dough.
On a flat surface, sprinkle some flour and then place the dough mixture and begin to knead until it looses the stickiness and gets elastic.
Separate the mixture to form eight pieces and shape into rolls. Place these onto a greased baking tray.
Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for about an hour. This will allow the dough to rise.

For the crosses
Blend the butter and the plain flour and add 4 tablespoons of water and put in a piping bag. Once an hour has passed and the dough for the buns has risen, remove the tea towel and pipe crosses on each bun.

Place the buns onto a baking tray and put into a preheated oven at Gas Mark 7 or 220C for 15 minutes or until the buns look golden brown.

For a simple, tasty glaze, warm through some shredless marmalade and mix with a little water until smooth. Once buns are cooled, brush over with glaze and set aside.

Enjoy toasted with a little butter.