RECIPES BY Rhiannon Lambert

Hot Cross Buns

  • 1 Hour
  • Makes 12 Buns
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Essential ingredients

75g butter (or dairy-free spread)
65g caster sugar
275ml lukewarm milk (or plant milk alternative)
7g sachet fast action dried yeast
400g spelt flour
Pinch salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
1 ½ tsp nutmeg
160g mixed dried fruit (raisins, sultanas and mixed peel)
30g strong white flour
Apricot jam (optional, for glazing)

Directions

  1. Place the butter/spread in a saucepan and heat very gently. Add the sugar, and stir constantly until melted.
  2. Remove from the heat and add in the lukewarm milk. Sprinkle the sachet of yeast over the mixture, and stir well to avoid any lumps forming. Then leave to stand for 3 minutes.
  3. Sieve the flour, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl, and gently pour in the milk. Stir until the mixture starts to hold together.
  4. Lightly flour the work surface, and knead the mixture for 3-4 minutes to form a dough. One handful at a time, add the mixed fruit to the dough, and knead for a further 3-4 minutes. Drizzle the base of a large bowl with oil, and place the dough inside, covering it with cling film. Leave it in warm place for at least 1 ½ hours, by which time it should have risen to double the size.
  5. Brush the top of the scones with the milk (be careful to not cover the sides with milk) and sprinkle over some sugar.
  6. Knead the dough again lightly on the work surface for 1-2 minutes. Roll out into two long strips, and cut each into 1/6ths, to make 12 portions. Use your hands to work each portion into a ball, and create a clean bun shape by pinching the dough from the top and sides to underneath, and flatten the top of the buns slightly.
  7. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, and place the buns at least 1cm apart, then cover with cling film. Allow them to prove in a warm place for at least 30 minutes, until risen and just touching each other in the tray.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180C while you decorate the buns. Mix the strong white flour with 3 tablespoons of cold water. Stir well until it makes a smooth, thick paste, then transfer to a freezer bag and snip off one corner carefully. Squeeze the bag lightly to pipe lines of the paste onto each row of buns lengthways, and then across.
  9. Place the tray of buns in the centre of the oven, and bake for 15-20 minutes until risen and golden. If desired, brush the buns with some apricot jam while warm, to glaze them. Enjoy warm immediately, or toast from chilled or frozen.