Originally eaten by the Saxons to honor their goddess Eostre the buns are marked with a cross as it is believed the bun represented the moon and the cross the moon's quarters. To Christians, the cross symbolizes the crucifixion.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes
Yield: Makes 12 hot Cross Buns
- For the Buns
- 500g/1lb 2oz strong, white bread flour
- 55g / 55g Muscovado sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 55g / 2 oz cold butter cut into small pieces
- 100g/ 3 ½ oz mixed dried fruits
- 25g / 1 oz candied mixed peel
- 7g ¼ oz dried yeast
- 300 ml /½ pint/ warm (not hot) milk
- For the Crosses
- 75g / 2 ½ oz all purpose plain flour
- 35g / 1 ½ oz cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 ½ tbsp apricot jam, warmed
- Mix together the flour, sugar, salt and spices. Add the butter pieces and rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse sand. Then, add the dried fruits and mixed peel and stir.
- Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and finally, pour in the warm milk. Mix with a spatula until a soft sticky dough is formed.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for no less than 10 minutes or until a silky smooth dough is formed. Place in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm (not hot)place until doubled in size, this should take about 2 hours.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface, knock all the air from the dough and knead again for 2 mins. Divide the dough into 12 and roll each into a bun shape. Place the buns on a lightly oiled baking sheet. With a sharp knife cut a shallow cross, the width of the into the top of the bun. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise again for approx 45 mins or until well risen.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7
- Make the crosses by rubbing the butter into the flour, add a little cold water (1/2 tbsp) and stir to make a thick dough. If too dry add a little more water. Roll the dough into a ball, cut in half, then each half into 6. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. The balls will go hard and be easier to roll.
- Roll each small dough ball into a long thin sausage, cut in half and firmly press each 'sausage' half into the cross of the buns without knocking the air out.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until the buns are well risen and golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush the buns with the jam. Lift the buns onto a wire rack and leave to cool.