I have one word for these - Delish! The recipe comes from Rachel at The Traveling Spoon who spent an exorbitant amount of time searching for the traditional Hot Cross Buns of her childhood in England. Rachel is a purist and says these are the real deal. She also says traditional hot cross buns never have icing crosses - the crosses you see here are made from a sweetened flour paste that is piped on just before baking. These buns are excellent warm from the oven or gently heated the next day.
Traditional Hot Cross Buns
makes 12 buns
For the buns:
310ml warmed milk
60g granulated sugar
16g dried yeast (about 4 teaspoons)
600g all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 large eggs
60g butter, room temperature
1 - 1 1/2 cups dried currants
For the crosses:
about 60g all-purpose flour
about 60 ml water
1-2 teaspoons granulated sugar
For the glaze:
2 tablespoons fruit jam, warmed (apricot recommended)
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, warmed milk, and yeast until sugar has dissolved. Cover loosely and set aside for 10 minutes or until mixture becomes frothy - it should almost triple in size, so be patient!
Meanwhile, mix the flour, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl. Rub the softened butter into the flour mixture with your fingers until evenly distributed (I prefer doing this in a heavy duty stand mixer fitted with a dough hook). The mixture will be crumbly. Stir in the egg, frothy yeast mixture and the dried currants until completely combined.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it comes together and becomes smooth and elastic. Add flour to your kneading surface as necessary. Lightly grease another large, clean mixing bowl (I knead in the stand mixer on speed 1 or 2 for five minutes).
Place the dough in the bowl, turning it several times to coat lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm, non-drafty place for about 45 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.
When dough has doubled, remove the plastic wrap and punch down the dough (don't be shy - you can really thwack it). Knead briefly, on your lightly floured surface, until smooth. Separate the dough into 12 even rounds.
Shape each round into a bun and place in a lightly greased 9x13-inch baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 390°F.
Whisk together the 60g of all purpose flour, the sugar, and the water to create the paste for the crosses. Add flour if necessary to thicken so that the paste can be easily piped onto the buns - use a piping bag or a zip-top bag the a small hole cut in one corner. Pipe crosses onto the buns and bake for 10 minutes at 390°F. Then reduce oven temperature to 350°F and bake for another 15 minutes, or until buns are golden and sound hollow when tapped - don't worry, they will soften after baking.
Warm the jam for the glaze and dilute with water if necessary. Brush onto buns while still warm.
Buns are best eaten warm from the oven or freshly toasted on the day of baking, but they're also tasty cold and you can store any leftovers in an air-tight container for a day or two.
adapted from The Traveling Spoon via Citrus and Candy