Make an Easter favourite
Who can resist a warm-from-the-oven hot cross bun, smothered in butter? magazine’s baking expert Alice Arndell says the key to great hot cross buns is generous helpings of spices and fruit, and taking your time with the dough.
10-12 minutes until the dough is a smooth ball. Stop for 30 seconds every 2 minutes to give the gluten time to rest. To test if it’s ready, stretch it – it should stretch a fair way before breaking. 4) Tip the dough into a large lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place to rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size. Add the dried fruit and use the dough hook to mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for 1 hour in a warm place. 5) Tip the dough on to a lightly floured bench and use a sharp knife to divide into 16 equal lumps (mine were about 105g each). Shape into balls and place on a baking paper-lined baking tray. The balls should be just touching or have just a little space around them. 6) Cover with a clean tea towel and put the tray in a warm place for 30 minutes to rise. To test if the buns are ready to bake, press the top of one gently. If it springs back slowly they are ready. (If it springs back quickly they need a bit longer; if it stays dented they’re over-proved so get them in the oven quickly!) 7) Preheat the oven to 200°C. While the buns are rising, make the cross paste by putting the flour in a small bowl with cup water and stirring until smooth. 8) Spoon the flour paste into a piping bag (or small sealable plastic bag). Fit a piping tip to the bag or cut a 3mm hole in one corner. Carefully pipe the crosses over the risen buns. 9) Bake for 20 minutes or until risen and golden brown. While they are cooking, make the glaze by dissolving the caster sugar in 2 tablespoons boiling water. Brush over the hot buns then cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving. Baker’s note: You can start the recipe a day in advance if you like – after mixing in the fruit and letting the dough rise again, knock it down gently by folding it in towards itself then cover with plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge overnight. You can then complete the shaping, rising and baking the next day. Just keep in mind that the rising will take a bit longer with cold dough (1 to 11⁄ hours instead of 30 minutes).