It’s hard to believe the difference in home-made hot cross buns – they really are far better than any bought from a shop and a lot cheaper into the bargain!
Why not bake your own this Easter.
2 oz (50 g) caster sugar, plus 1 level teaspoon
1 level tablespoon of dried yeast
1 lb (450 g) plain of flour
1 level teaspoon of salt
1 rounded teaspoon mixed spice
3 oz (75 g) currants
2 oz (50 g) cut mixed peel
1½-2 fl oz (40-55 ml) warmed milk
1 egg, beaten
2 oz (50 g) butter, melted
For the glaze:
2 level tablespoons granulated sugar
First stir the teaspoon of caster sugar into 5 fl oz (150 ml) hand-hot water, then sprinkle in the dried yeast and leave it until a good frothy ‘beer’ head forms.
Meanwhile sift the flour and add salt and mixed spice into a mixing bowl and add the remaining 2 oz (50 g) of sugar, the currants and mixed peel. Then make a well in the centre, pour in the yeast mixture plus 1½ fl oz (40 ml) of milk (again hand-hot), the beaten egg and the melted butter. Now mix it to a dough, starting with a wooden spoon and finishing with your hands (add a spot more milk if it needs it).
Then transfer the dough on to a clean surface and knead it until it feels smooth and elastic – about 6 minutes. Now pop it back into the bowl, cover the bowl with a lightly oiled plastic bag, and leave it in a warm place to rise – it will take about an hour to double its original size. Then turn it out and knead it again, back down to its original size.
Divide the mixture into 12 round portions, arrange them on the greased baking sheet (allowing plenty of room for expansion), and make a deep cross on each one with a sharp knife. Leave them to rise once more, covering again with the oiled polythene bag, for about 25 minutes. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7, 425°F (220°C).
Bake the buns for about 15 minutes. Then, while they’re cooking, melt the sugar and 2 tablespoons of water for the glaze over a gentle heat and brush the buns with it as soon as they come out of the oven, to make them nice and sticky.