Hot Cross Buns
A sticky hot cross bun is the ultimate Easter treat but can be enjoyed all year round. Eat them plain, toasted or spread with jam.
- 900 g (2 lb) strong white bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1–2 teaspoons mixed spice
- 4 teaspoons fast-action dried yeast
- 110 g (4 oz) caster sugar, plus 2 level tablespoons for the glaze
- 110 g (4 oz) butter, diced
- 110 g (4 oz) sultanas
- about 425 ml (15 fl oz) half and half warm milk and water
- 110 g (4 oz) plain flour
- Place the bread flour, salt, mixed spice, yeast and sugar in a large bowl and mix together.
- Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs and then add the sultanas.
- Add the milk and water and mix to form a soft dough.
- Knead on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Place in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film or a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for about 1½ hours or until doubled in size. Knead again for 2–3 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 24 pieces, knead each piece until smooth and shape into buns.
- Place on lightly greased baking trays, allowing room for the buns to rise.
- Cover with oiled cling film and leave in a warm place until doubled in size – about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7.
- Mix the plain flour to a smooth paste with 8 tablespoons of water and spoon into a piping bag fitted with an 8 mm (3⁄8 inch) plain nozzle.
- Pipe crosses over the tops of the buns.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until brown and cooked.
- While the buns are cooking, dissolve the 2 level tablespoons of sugar in 2 tablespoons of water.
- Bring to the boil and brush over the buns while still hot.
- Cool on a wire rack.
For more tea time favourites see the WI book Vintage Teatime compiled by Jessica Simmons and published by Simon and Schuster in 2012.