A traditional Hot Cross Buns recipe, for essential Easter baking.
For the buns
500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
75g caster sugar
2 tsp mixed spice powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
10g fast-acting dried yeast
1 free-range egg, beaten
50g mixed peel, finely chopped
Oil, for greasing
For the topping
75g plain flour
For the glaze
2 tbsp golden syrup
Mix together the flour, sugar, spices and lemon zest into a large bowl. Add the salt and yeast, on opposite sides of the bowl.
Melt the butter in a pan, and warm the milk in a separate pan. Add the butter and half the tepid milk to the dry ingredients. Add the egg and use your hands to bring the mixture together, incorporating the flour from the edges of the bowl as you go. Gradually add the remaining milk, to form a soft pliable dough (you may not need all of the milk).
Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand incorporating the sultanas and mixed peel into the dough. Lightly knead for 10 minutes until silky and elastic, and forming a smooth ball. The kneading can also be done with the dough hooks of a stand mixer or electric mixer.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rest in a warm place for about 1½ hours or until doubled in size.
Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and divide into 12 balls. Line 1-2 baking trays with paper and place the balls fairly close together on the tray, flattening them slightly with your hand.
Slide each baking tray into a large clean polythene bag, making sure the bag doesn’t touch the buns. Leave for 40-60 minutes until the balls have doubled in size.
Mix the topping ingredients in a bowl to form a paste, and spoon into an icing bag.
Carefully remove the trays from the polythene bags, and pipe a cross on each ball in the traditional hot cross bun style. Bake in a preheated oven at 220oC for 15-20 minutes until pale golden-brown, turning the baking trays round halfway through if necessary.
Melt the golden syrup in a pan and, while the hot cross buns are still warm, brush them with a little syrup to make them shine. Set the glazed buns aside on a wire rack to cool.
Hot cross buns will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.