Hot cross buns,
Hot cross buns,
One a penny,
Two a penny,
Hot cross buns!
So, what are hot cross buns?
They are a gorgeously sweet spiced bun made with raisins or currants, and topped with a sugary topping and usually have a white cross marked on top of it.
But why do we eat them?
There are lots of different reasons to why we eat hot cross buns at Easter time but the most common reason is to do with Lent. As the Easter weekend comes at the end of Lent, these tasty treats are perfect to mark the end of the period as they are full of dairy products which people might decide to stop eating during Lent.
A little history of Hot Cross Buns…
The Hot Cross Bun was first recorded back in the early 1700s. The Poor Robin’s Almanac said: “Good Friday come this month, the old woman runs. With one or two a penny hot cross buns.” Hence the famous song that we shared at the top of this post!
Now, let’s make some!
This recipe has been taken from BBC Good Food.
For the buns
625g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground mixed spice
45g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
1 lemon, zest only
1½ tsp fast-action yeast
1 free-range egg
275ml tepid milk
125g mixed dried fruit
For the topping
2 tbsp plain flour
Vegetable oil, for greasing
1 tbsp golden syrup, for glazing
Image above taken from Pinterest
Firstly, sieve the flour, salt and ground mixed spice into a large mixing bowl, then rub in the butter using your fingertips. Make a well in the centre of the mixture, then add the sugar and lemon zest and yeast.
Beat the egg and add to the flour with the tepid milk. Mix together to a form a soft, pliable dough.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Carefully work the mixed dried fruit into the dough until well combined. Knead lightly for 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
Grease a large, warm mixing bowl with butter. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into the prepared bowl, then cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for one hour to prove.
Turn out the proved dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knock back the dough. Shape it into a ball again and return it to the bowl, then cover again with the tea towel and set aside for a further 30 minutes to rise.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten slightly into a bun shape using the palms of your hands. Cover the buns again with the tea towel and set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes.
Grease a baking tray with butter and transfer the buns to the tray. 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.
Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/Gas 8.
Meanwhile, for the topping, mix the plain flour to a smooth paste with 2 tablespoons of cold water.
When the buns have risen, remove the polythene bag and the greaseproof paper. Spoon the flour mixture into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each bun.
Transfer the buns to the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. As soon as you remove the buns from the oven, brush them with the hot golden syrup, then set aside to cool on a wire rack.