Hot Cross Buns

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Apparently hot cross buns almost caused a riot during the 18th Century. The Chelsea Bun House sold the most delicious buns in London so when they ran out at Easter things got a bit heated amongst the local residents. Luckily for us, we can get them all year around but seeing as it’s Easter I thought I’d make a fresh batch to share with the family. Best eaten hot from the oven with a pot of tea.

Happy Easter!

So here’s how (makes 15 buns):

  • 300ml full-fat milk, plus 2 tbsp more
  • 50g butter
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 75g sultanas
  • 50g mixed peel
  • zest 1 orange
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the cross:

  • 75g plain flour

For the glaze:

  • 75g apricot jam or marmalade

Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter and leave to cool. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and then pour in the warm milk and butter mixture and the egg. Mix well and then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough. Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oil bowl and cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hour until double in size.

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With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Leave to rise for 1 hour more until double in size.

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Divide the dough into 15 even pieces and roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover with more oiled cling film and then set aside to prove for 1 hour more.

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Heat oven to 220C (200C fan). Mix the flour with about 5 tbsp water to make the paste for the cross. Add the water 1 tbsp at a time, so you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses. Bake for 20 mins until golden brown.

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For the glaze, gently heat the jam and then when the buns are out of the oven brush on the top using a pastry brush.

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Recipe from Paul Hollywood.