The Fluffiest Hot Cross Buns
Updated: Apr 4, 2021
This Hot Cross Bun recipe is simply delicious and actually SIMPLE! It calls for the fruit soaked in earl grey tea AND rum - which makes the fruit succulent and adds generous complexity of flavour - however you can leave the rum out if you want! Please enjoy and let me know what you think!
Makes 12 Large Buns
340g full fat milk, lukewarm
120g soft brown sugar
3 tsp dry instant yeast
590g all-purpose/ plain bread flour
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cardamom pods, black seeds removed and ground
1 tsp allspice or mixed spice mix
1 tsp vanilla bean paste/ essence
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups strongly brewed earl grey tea
2 shots of dark rum (optional)
250g mix of raisins, sultanas, currants
40g All-purpose/ plain bread flour
Apricot Syrup for Glazing
2 tbsp apricot jam
2 tsp of water
To prep the fruit:
Place the raisins, sultanas and currants in a medium bowl, and cover with the hot Earl Grey tea and rum. Leave to soak for at least 30 minutes or overnight if you wish, then drain leaving about a 1 tablespoon of liquid left in the bowl.
For the bun dough:
Add the lukewarm milk, a teaspoon of the sugar (or honey), and the yeast to a medium sized bowl, and stir to combine. Leave for around 10 minutes, or until the yeast has bloomed.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the flour, brown sugar, salt, spices, and mix well to combine. Next add the milk mixture and vanilla to the dry ingredients, and mix on a low speed for 2 minutes. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium, and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is incorporated until adding the next piece. Mix for a further 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, soft, and comes away cleanly from the side of the bowl.
Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface (I do not find that there is a need to flour, but add some if you wish), and knead in the fruit by hand until thoroughly incorporated throughout the dough. Shape the dough into a ball, and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel or cling wrap and leave to prove in a warm area until least doubled in size (around 2 to 3 hours).
Line a baking tray with baking paper or grease with lots of butter, set aside. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, and weigh the dough. Divide the weight of the dough by 12, and divide the dough into 12 equal sized pieces (mine were all approximately 113grams each). Roll out each piece into a ball, then arrange evenly on the baking tray, in a 3 by 4 arrangement, leaving a small amount of space in between each ball (so they have room to proof). Extra tip: if you want them to join together in the oven to give the ‘classic’ hot cross bun look don’t space them too far apart!
Lightly cover the tray with cling wrap or tea towel, and leave in a warm place for about 45 to an hour minutes, or until puffy and risen once more.
Preheat the oven to 170°C fan-forced (350°f / 190°C). Using a sharp knife, lightly score crosses on the buns to mark out where you will pie the crosses.
Now mix the flour and water for the crosses until a thick runny paste forms. Add to a piping bag or small ziplock bag then snip corner. Remove the cling wrap/ tea towel and pipe crosses onto the buns. Go slow and make sure you get the sides (I like to pipe downwards then all the way across).
Bake the buns in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a deep golden brown, while you are waiting start making the glaze.
For the apricot glaze:
Place apricot jam and water in a bowl, microwave for 30 seconds. Mix to combine.
Remove buns from oven and brush with jam mixture while still warm (use a pastry brush). Allow to cool slightly before serving, (but still warm) and in my opinion serve with lots of butter! Please enjoy!
Store any leftover buns in an airtight container at room temperature. I like to reheat mine in the microwave before eating.
An electric kitchen scale is very useful for this recipe (and all baking recipes when you need to be exact about quantities), can’t recommend one enough!