THESE traditional spiced, sticky glazed fruit buns with pastry crosses are often served in Ireland as a classic Easter treat but you can also enjoy them at any time of year.
Irish hot cross buns
For the buns
- 625g/1lb 4oz Strong White Flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 2 teaspoon Mixed Spice
- 50g/2oz Butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
- 75g/3oz Caster Sugar
- Rind of 1 Lemon, grated
- 1 x 7g sachet Fast Action Yeast
- 1 Egg, beaten
- 275ml/10fl oz Milk (tepid/lukewarm temperature)
- 125g/4oz Fruit Mix
For the topping
- 2 tablespoons Plain Flour
- 1 tablespoon Golden Syrup, gently heated
How to make your hot cross buns
1. Sieve flour, salt and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl, then rub in butter using fingertips until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre then add sugar, lemon and yeast.
2. Mix in egg and milk to a form a soft pliable dough. Then turn out onto lightly floured surface and carefully work the fruit into the dough until well combined. Knead lightly for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
3. Grease a large, warm mixing bowl with butter. Shape the dough into a ball and place into the bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and set aside to prove in a warm place for at least 1 hour.
4. Once proved, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock back to remove air. Shape into a ball again and return to the bowl, set aside for a further 30 minutes to rise.
5. After 30 minutes, divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each into a ball, then flatten slightly into a bun shape and place onto a greased baking tray. Cover again with tea towel and set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes.
6. Wrap the tray with the buns on it loosely in greaseproof paper, then place inside a large polythene bag. Tie the end of the bag tightly so that no air can get in and set aside in a warm place for a further 40 minutes to rise.
7. Preheat oven to 240°C/475°F/Gas 8.
8. For the topping, mix the plain flour to a smooth paste with 2 tablespoons of cold water.
9. When the buns have risen, spoon the flour mixture into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each bun.
10. Transfer buns to the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes until pale golden brown. As soon as you remove the buns from the oven, brush them with the heated golden syrup, then set aside to cool on a wire rack.