With the judging of hot cross buns baked by chefs of some of Australia’s hippest metropolitan hang outs wrapped up (if you haven’t already, a quick Google search will get you inspired) I thought I would attempt to bake my own…
My first surprise was the inclusion of eggs in the recipe. I didn’t realise eggs were used in these traditional delights and it is a great reminder to always check the ingredients on packaged food to ensure egg used, whether whole, powdered or whites only, are cage free.
My second surprise was that baking hot cross buns wasn’t as easy as I had first thought! A couple of packets of flour and failed attempts later, here is a great recipe to try at home.
Easter hot cross buns
4 cups plain flour
14g dried yeast (2 sachets)
1/4 cup raw caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Finely grated rind of 1 orange
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
200g dried sour cherries
2 RSPCA Approved eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plain flour
4 to 5 tbps water
1/3 cup water
2 tbps caster sugar
Butter or chocolate hazelnut spread
Combine flour, yeast, sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon, orange and lemon rind, salt and cherries in a large bowl. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add milk. Heat for 1 minute. Add warm butter and milk mixture to dough mixture. (It is important that the milk mixture hasn’t been left to cool.) Add eggs to mixture. Use a bread knife to mix until dough comes together. Use washed hands (with a bit of flour on them) to finish mixing and form a soft dough. Knead dough for 10 minutes on a floured surface. Once dough is smooth, mould into large ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until dough doubles in size (approximately 1 hour). Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Punch dough down to its original size. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide into 14 even portions. Shape each portion into a ball. Place balls onto lined tray, about 1cm apart. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place until buns double in size (approximately 30 minutes). Preheat oven to 190°C.
To make the crosses, mix flour and water together in a small bowl until smooth. Add a little more water if paste is too thick. Spoon into a piping bag with a small open end. Pipe flour paste over tops of buns to form crosses. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until buns are lightly brown and cooked through.
To make the glaze, heat water and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Brush warm glaze over warm hot cross buns.
Serve warm or toasted with butter or chocolate hazelnut spread.