Spring is well and truly upon us. The days are becoming longer, the sun is shining and we are seeing new life all around us, whether that be new lambs frolicking in the fields or ponds brimming with flora and fauna. For our recipe of the month for April we chose hot cross buns, a staple in our family kitchen at this time of year. The following recipe will make 12 buns.
This was my first time making hot cross buns and I have to admit that I was a bit intimidated by the ingredient list when I first saw the size of it, however upon further inspection I realised that most of the list was things I already had in my cupboard and the only items I had to buy were the eggs, sultanas and mixed peel. The recipe wasn’t hard to make, even for me as a novice baker! One thing to make note of however is that there are two periods during the recipe where the dough must be allowed to rise for an hour (so two hours in total), so please make sure you give yourself enough time if you attempt the recipe.
- 300ml milk (and a splash extra)
- 50g melted butter
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 1 sachet (7g) instant yeast
- 75g brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 eggs
- 150g sultanas
- 80g mixed peel
- zest of 1 orange
- zest of 1 lemon
- marzipan (feel free to make your own if you prefer!)
- 2 tablespoons of apricot jam or marmalade
- Line a tray with baking paper.
- Using a saucepan, heat the milk and butter until it is melted, and then allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, mix the flour, yeast, brown sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
- Make a well in the middle of the flour mix and then crack in one of the eggs and pour in the cooled milk and butter mixture. Combine all the ingredients until you’ve formed a sticky dough.
- Add the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest and lemon zest and once again combine all the ingredients.
- Turn the mixture onto a floured surface and knead it for about five minutes. Put the dough back into your bowl, cover, and leave it for an hour. The dough should double in size during this time.
- After the hour has passed, knead the dough into twelve balls and put them on the baking tray. Once again, cover them and allow them to rise for another hour.
- Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/170°C Fan/Gas Mark 5.
- When the buns have risen, beat your second egg with a splash of milk to create an egg wash. Brush it over the buns, then, after cutting your marzipan into long strips, position the marzipan in a cross over each bun (make sure they are attached well).
- Bake for twenty minutes, being careful that the marzipan doesn’t burn.
- Brush over the melted apricot jam or marmalade while the buns are still hot, and taste straight away!