Piece of life
To tell you the truth, I had never heard of these little buns before I moved to Canada. When I saw them for the first time, I bought some; how could I resist a new bun? But I couldn’t say it was love at first sight; too dry for my taste. So I put it far back on my list of recipes to try one day. And then, over the years, as I saw them everywhere, I thought that to be so popular, there must be something more to it than what I had tasted. And it just came to me this weekend: “Let’s try hot cross buns” after all, Easter is only a week away!
About the Hot cross buns
A bit of history
Although the origin of these buns is unclear, what is certain is that they are an Anglo-Saxon recipe traditionally prepared for Good Friday. It is impossible to confuse them with other buns thanks to the cross represented on their top, which symbolizes the crucifixion of Jesus.
Like all traditional recipes, each family has its own. These buns are usually prepared with spices, raisins and candied fruits. However, there are many variants, and everyone is free to adjust the recipe.
I have remained traditional: cinnamon, raisins, candied orange peel and orange zest. The result is delicious: fluffy and flavorful tiny buns.
There is nothing complicated about this recipe. It is easier to prepare it with a food processor equipped with a hook, but if you don’t have one, you can knead the dough by hand.
How to make the cross ?
Well, it’s very easy. The simplest way is to mix flour with a little water to obtain a thick cream. You spread this mixture on the buns just before putting them in the oven, forming a cross. It would also be possible to make it with icing or custard, for example.
Hot cross buns
- 500 g flour
- 250 ml milk lukewarm
- 20 g fresh yeast (or 7g dry)
- 1 egg
- 50 g butter
- 50 g sugar
- 8 g salt
- 1 zest organic orange (or lemon)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 75 g raisins
- 35 g candied orange peel diced
- 2 tbsp flour
- maple syrup (or honey)
- Soak the grapes in cold water. Set aside.
- Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm milk.
- Melt the butter.
- In the bowl of the food processor add the flour, sugar, salt, orange zest and cinnamon. Mix.
- Make a hole in the middle of the flour mixture, pour in the butter. Start kneading at a slow speed. Pour in the milk/yeast mixture, continue to knead and add the egg, lightly beaten. Knead for about 10 minutes.
- Cover with a clean cloth and let the dough rest in a warm place for 1 to 1h30 hours, until doubled in size.
- Drain the raisins.
- Punch down the dough, and add the raisins and orange peel. Knead the dough for 2 minutes.
- Cut the dough into 12 identical pieces. Shape into balls and place on a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper or greased), leaving a space between each piece (the dough will rise). Cover again and let rest for 30 to 45 minutes, until the breads have risen.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
- Put 2 tablespoons of flour in a bowl. Add water gradually until you have a thick cream. Pour it on the buns, forming a cross (see video above).
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Once out of the oven, brush the top of the buns with maple syrup (or honey).