Jane de Graaf consulted the experts and discovered the right combination of fruit and spices needed to create the best recipe for homemade hot cross buns this Easter. But remember, you can add more or less of the spices - it's up to you. You might also want to add ginger, ground cloves or star anise to suit your tastes.
- 2 tsp dried instant yeast
- 500 g plain four
- 90 g sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground all spice
- ¼ tsp fresh grated nutmeg
- 300 ml milk
- 60 g butter
- 1 large egg
- 140 g sultanas (or a mix of currants, sultanas and raisins)
- 30 g mixed peel (optional)
- 2 tbsp self-raising flour
- 2 tbsp cold water
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 150 ml boiling water
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Proving time: 2 hours
Sift together yeast, flour, sugar, salt and spices to evenly distribute.
In a small saucepan, gently heat the milk over a low temperature and melt the butter into it.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg.
Add the milk and butter mixture to the flour and mix thoroughly. Add the egg and mix well to form a dough.
Work in the dried fruit and peel.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until it feels smooth and is no longer sticky. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to prove for 1hour or until doubled in size.
Punch down the dough and then separate it into 12 equal portions.
Place the buns close together on a lightly greased baking tray. Cover and allow to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size and very light.
Preheat oven to 220°C. To make the crosses, mix the flour and water thoroughly to form a thick paste. Spoon into a zip-lock bag, cut a little hole out of the corner of the bag and use it to pipe the mixture in crosses on top of the buns.
Bake the topped buns for 15–20 minutes.
To make the glaze, mix together all ingredients, dissolving the sugar in the boiling water. Brush glaze over the buns lightly while still hot.