I have a confession to make. I don’t actually particularly like hot cross buns. I want to like them, I think they smell amazing, but mixed peel is seriously not for me. However, as with anything homemade, these hot cross buns are a horse of a different colour so to speak. The apricot glaze and the addition of a couple of apples add to the fruity decadence of this. I only regret not trying to finish these at 9.30 after half a bottle of wine (quality time with the family, naturally).
To make your own hot cross buns just in time for Good Friday you will need:
500g strong white bread flour
75g caster sugar
1 sachet instant yeast
40g softened butter
2 beaten eggs
120ml warm milk
120ml cool water
230g mixed dried fruit
The zest of 2 lemons
2 eating apples (peeled, cored and cut into 1cm cubes)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
For the crosses
75g plain flour
Put your flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter and eggs to a large mixing bowl. Add half of your water and begin to mix the dough by hand. Gradually add more of the water until the flour comes away from the side of the bowl (you might not need to add all the dough). Keep mixing until a rough dough has formed. The dough should be soft but not too wet.
Knead for 5-10 minutes on a lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Put into a large bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rise for at least an hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
Knock back your dough on a floured surface. Add your dried fruit, apple, orange zest and cinnamon and knead into the dough until all the mixture is incorporated. Cover and leave to rise for another hour.
Knock back the dough again. Divide your dough into approximately 14 equal buns (just make your desired hot cross bun size) and place on baking trays lined with baking parchment. Put your trays into clean plastic bags and allow to rise for a further hour.
Preheat your oven to 220°C. Make a paste with the plain flour and water. Use a piping bag to pipe crosses onto the buns. Sadly, my piping bag was in Harrogate and I was at home so I tried to improvise and disastrously spilled flour pasted onto one of the trays. Hey ho!
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. My buns are slightly overdone (I was pretty drowsy by this point!). Heat your jam up and use a pastry brush to glaze the still warm hot cross buns. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Serve warm with your favourite butter and jam.