Royal Hot Cross Buns for Easter

If you want to celebrate this Easter (April 4th) with something special, these delicious spicy Hot Cross Buns are traditional treats for an Easter teatime. Traditionally eaten on Good Friday, Hot Cross Buns are first supposed to have been made by a monk in St Albans Abbey in the fourteenth century, to distribute to the poor.

The recipe below is taken from the book Royal Teas, which is available to buy from the Royal Collection Trust bookshop.

Hot cross bun and teapot photograph: Lisa Linder © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020

See also: Damian King Lee’s Healthy Duck Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 1.5 free-range eggs
  • 25g (1/8 cup) fresh yeast
  • 375g (3 cups) strong flour
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined caster sugar
  • 60g (¼ cup) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • a generous pinch of salt
  • 130ml (½ cup) tepid water
  • 2 tablespoons candied mixed peel
  • 2 tablespoons golden sultanas
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 teaspoons ground mixed spice

For the piping paste:

  • 4 tablespoons plain white flour
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cold water

For the sugar syrup:

  • 100ml (½ cup) water
  • 200g (1 cup) unrefined caster sugar

Equipment:
Piping bag

See also: Marcus Bawdon’s Grilled Lamb Leg Steaks with Chamomile Salsa Verde

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 220ºC (425ºF, gas mark 7).
  • Disperse the yeast in the tepid water. Sieve the flour, salt, sugar and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl, and then rub in the diced butter. Use your fingertips until all the butter has been incorporated into the flour.
  • Make a well in the centre of the mixture. Place the eggs and dispersed yeast into a small bowl and mix together before pouring into the well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Mix together to form a soft pliable dough.
  • Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and carefully incorporate the dried fruit into the dough. Knead the dough for a further 5 minutes, or until it feels smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to a clean mixing bowl. Cover the mixing bowl with cling film or a damp clean tea towel, and set aside in a warm area for about 1 hour to prove. The dough should at least double in size.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size it needs knocking back. Set it on a lightly floured surface again and knock the air out of the dough before dividing into 15 evenly sized buns. You can weigh them on a set of scales to ensure consistent sizes; you will need about 50 grams of dough per bun.
  • Roll each piece of dough into a ball and place on to a lined baking tray. Be sure to leave a sufficient space around each bun to allow room as they prove again. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to prove in a warm area of your kitchen, until they have once more doubled in size. The time this takes will depend upon how warm your kitchen is, but assume around 30–45 minutes.
  • Mix together all of the ingredients for the piping paste to form a paste with a consistency that will allow you to pipe a cross on to each bun. Pipe the crosses, then place the buns on the middle shelf of the preheated oven and bake for 8–12 minutes, or until they turn a pale golden brown.
  • While they bake, boil together the sugar and water to make the sugar syrup. As soon as you remove the buns from the oven, brush them with the warm sugar syrup and set aside to cool on a wire rack.

See also: Yondu Umami’s Courgette, Ricotta and Tomato Pie

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