According to history, a 12th century Anglican monk baked some buns and marked them with a cross in honor of Good Friday. Over time, hot cross buns have gained popularity and are now a common Easter tradition throughout much of the world.
There are numerous varieties of hot cross buns, but today we’re sticking with the classic. These are sweet rolls made with a lightly sweetened dough filled with raisins and spices and topped with an apricot glaze.
Hot Cross Buns
1 cup lukewarm milk
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup raisins
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
4 cups + 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon half and half or heavy cream, for brushing
Paste for Crosses:
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons milk
6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons apricot jam or preserves
1 tablespoon water
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm milk and yeast.
Add the raisins to a small bowl. Add enough boiling water to cover the raisins. Allow the raisins to soak for 5 minutes. Drain well and set aside the plump raisins.
Add the sugar, eggs, and melted butter to the stand mixer bowl. Mix to combine.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. With the mixer running on low speed, add about 1/3 of flour mixture. Once incorporated, add another 1/3 of the flour mixture. Add the drained raisins, followed with the remaining flour mixture. Once the dough has formed, increase the speed to medium-high and knead the dough for 3 to 5 minutes until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
Transfer the dough to a greased bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to sit at room temperature for
Remove the towel and gently deflate risen dough by pressing it down. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll each portion into round balls. Place in a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes until the balls of dough have risen enough to touch each other.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare the paste:
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, milk, and water until a wet paste forms. Spoon the runny mixture to a piping bag with a small round tip or a small zip top plastic bag with the corner snipped off.
Pipe straight lines vertically and horizontally across the risen buns to create crosses.
Bake the buns in a preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush cream over the buns. Return to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes until the bread is golden brown on top.
In a small bowl, whisk together the apricot jam and water until smooth. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat warm buns with glaze.
Enjoy warm and fresh from the oven.
Recipe adapted from Recipe Girl.