...Have been with us for centuries - with symbolic crosses having been used on cakes since the 6th century in Greece. Baking HCB's at home became a tradition after Elizabeth I decreed they could only be sold for profit on a few days each year. Make it a family tradition in your home...
These are not as complicated as they seem! You are just making an enriched dough and the two proves allows you to catch up on an episode from Bridgeton or Succession! They are delicious and so much fun to make with the children who love "icing" on the crosses. You could even add some food dye to the crosses so they are different colours!
You can experiment with the flavours too - add some ground green cardamom seeds to the dough or add 100g of dried cherries & 50g chopped dark chocolate in place of 150g of the mixed fruit.
175g currants/sultanas (or any dried fruit you have, like dried cranberries or cherries or mixed peel if you like)
300ml milk (full fat if possible)
75g unsalted butter
500g strong white bread flour
75g light brown sugar
1 tbsp mixed spice
1 tsp fine salt
1/2tsp grated nutmeg (only if you have it)
zest of an orange (or lemon if you prefer)
2 heaped tsp of easy bake yeast
80g plain flour
1 tsp brown sugar
80ml cold water
2 tbsp golden syrup OR apricot jam or any syrup sugar
2 tbsp light brown sugar
Delicious eaten straight from the oven, warmed in a microwave or toasted and smothered with butter and cherry jam.
Put the dried fruit in a small bowl and pour over just enough boiled water to cover. Leave to plump up.
Gently warm the milk and butter until the butter has just melted and remove from heat.
In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, mixed spice, nutmeg, orange zest and salt. Make a well and add the yeast and pour in the warm milk/butter from step 2 (must not be hot just warm).
Drain the dried fruit and mix in with the beaten egg to form a enriched dough.
Knead quickly for 20-30 seconds on a lightly floured surface and set aside for 5-10 minutes (covered) then repeat the process twice until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Put the dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour until its doubled in size.
Divide the dough into 12 even portions - take a portion put it in your hands and roll into a dough ball for a few minutes to make a smooth bun. Slightly press down at the top and put on the tin. Repeat for the other 11 buns.
Once all the buns are on the tin - touching each other at the sides - cover with a t-towel and leave to rise again for 45 minutes.
Beat the remaining egg and brush over all the buns
For the crosses mix the flour and sugar with 80ml of water to make a thick paste.
If you have a piping bag put the white paste into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each of the HCB's
Bake for 20-25 minutes rotating the tray half way through until the buns are a rich brown colour.
Gently heat the ingredients for the glaze and gently pour over the Hot Cross Buns and eat!