Hot cross buns

I love hot cross buns – the sweet spicy aroma, the sharp tang of citrus peel, the melting butter – deliciousness on a plate. However, this is the first year that I have made my own.

Ingredients

For the dough:

1 ¼ cups of milk

2 teaspoons of dried yeast

Pinch of sugar

3 ½ cups of plain flour

3 teaspoons of mixed spice

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

½ cup of currants or sultanas

¼ cup of mixed peel

60 grams of butter

1 egg

For the cross:

¼ cup of plain flour

2 tablespoons of water

For the glaze:

¼ cup caster sugar

2 tablespoons of water

Preparation

Warm the milk a little and add to the yeast and pinch of sugar. Leave in a warm place for five minutes, until there are foamy bubbles on the top.

Melt the butter in a pan and leave to cool. Lightly beat the egg in a small cup.

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Sift the flour, mixed spice and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl. Add the currents and mixed peel. Mix gently and make a well in the middle.

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Method

When the yeast has bubbled, pour into the dry ingredients. Add the cooled, melted butter and the lightly beaten egg. You can mix together by hand or machine. If mixing by hand, then knead for five minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. If mixing by machine, keep an eye on it as this happens a lot faster.

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Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and put in a warm place to rise. Leave for at least an hour, or until doubled in size.

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Put the oven on at 190 degrees.

Take the dough out of the bowl and knead lightly for a minute or so. Divide the mix into twelve equal portions.

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I used the kitchen scales to help – about 100 grams for each bun from my mix.

Put the buns on a baking tray which has a sheet of baking paper on it. Allow only about 1 cm between them so that they will join up. Cover in a clean tea towel and allow to rise for a further 15 minutes in a warm place.

Combine the flour and water for the cross to make a soft paste. Put the paste into a small plastic bag and work the paste into one corner. Then snip a small tip off the corner. Pipe across the row of buns, first in one direction, then swivel the tray and pipe in the other direction to make crosses.

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Practice piping on the counter first. My initial lines were very fat because my paste was too stiff and the hole was too big. I made a second batch, with a touch more water. This was softer and easier to pipe.

Put the buns into the oven to bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Combine the water and sugar in a small pan on the stove top. Heat slowly until the sugar dissolves. Allow the water and sugar to become syrupy. When the buns come out of the oven brush with the glaze.

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Then cut the buns in half and smear with butter. Take a bite of your hard work!

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