Hot Cross Buns
Easter baking always includes hot cross buns. They are eaten traditionally on Good Friday, warm with a little butter. A great tea time treat.
Hot Cross Buns are marked with a cross and were eaten by the Saxons to honour their goddess Eostre - it is thought the bun represented the moon and the cross the moon's quarters. To Christians, the cross symbolizes the crucifixion.
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 215ml/7˝fl oz warm water
- 15g/˝oz fresh yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 55g/2oz strong white flour
- FOR THE DOUGH
- 450g/1lb strong white flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground mixed spice
- 85g/3oz butter , cubed
- 85g/3oz sugar
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 170g/6oz mixed dried fruit
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- oil, for greasing
- 1 tbsp warmed apricot jam
1. Begin the yeast starter for the dough by mixing the beaten egg with 290ml/˝ pint warm water. Stir in the yeast, sugar and flour, cover and put in a warm place for 30 minutes.
2. To make the buns: sieve the flour, salt and spice into a large bowl and rub in the butter. Make a well in the center and fill with the sugar and lemon zest. Pour on the yeast starter mix.
3. Steadily incorporate the flour into the liquid center then mix the dough vigorously. Knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough.
4. Gently add the mixed dried fruit. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a warm, greased bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
5. Place the dough on the worktop and knead again, knocking out any air. Shape it back into a ball again, put back into the bowl, cover and leave to rise for another 30 minutes.
6. Place back on the board again and divide into 12 even pieces. Roll them into buns and leave to rest for a few minutes on the work surface covered with the tea towel.
7. Place the buns on a lightly greased baking sheet. Slightly flatten each bun and then cut almost through dough to form a cross.
8. Grease a large plastic bag and place the tray with the buns in it tying the end together. Leave to rise for 40 minutes.
9. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 240C/475F/Gas 8. Make a paste for the crosses on the buns with the plain flour and 2 tbsp cold water. Mix until it is soft enough to pipe through a nozzle.
10. Remove the polythene bag and pipe a cross on each bun. Bake the buns for 8 -12 minutes or until risen and golden. Brush the buns with hot golden syrup as soon as they are ready. Cool on a wire rack.