Apr 2, 2020

Recipe: Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns are an Easter tradition. Originally they were made only on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday. In the days before they could be bought from supermarkets, the bakers at Fitzbillies worked a double shift to make enough and there were queues round the block.


Makes 16 buns

- 610g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting.
- 40g unsalted butter or baking margarine, softened.
- 40g caster sugar.
- 1/4 tsp salt.
- 1 medium egg.
- 25g fast-action dried yeast.
- 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice.
- 170g currants.
- 115g sultanas.
- 30g mixed candied peel
  200–300ml hand-hot water, around 37°C 

  For the piping paste 
- 4 tbsp plain flour.
- 4 tbsp caster sugar.
- 1 tsp sunflower oil.
- 1–2 tbsp cold water.

For the glaze

- 100g caster sugar.
- 50ml water.


An Easter tradition, originally they were made only on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday.


1. Put the flour, butter or margarine, caster sugar, salt, egg, yeast, mixed spice and 100ml of the hand-hot water into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.

2. Mix on medium speed for 8 minutes to make a very soft, smooth dough. (If the dough seems too stiff, add the extra 50ml of water.).

3. Add the currants, sultanas and mixed peel and mix for another minute.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead quickly into a ball.

5. Place the dough into a clean bowl, cover with cling film and prove in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently press out into a rectangle to deflate.

7. Divide the dough into 16 pieces and shape each piece into a neat ball.

8. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment and arrange the balls of dough in straight lines four by four with gaps between them so that when the buns have doubled in size they will just touch.

9. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes, or until the buns have doubled in size.

10. Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan).

11. Make the piping paste by mixing together all the ingredients, then put in a piping bag with a small plain nozzle. (Or use a plastic freezer bag with the corner cut off.)

12. Pipe a cross onto each bun.

13. Bake the buns for 30–40 minutes until they are golden and sound hollow when tapped on the base.

14. To make the glaze, put the sugar and water in a pan and bring to the boil.

15. Finally, brush the hot glaze over the buns.

For more recipes, cake ideas, baking tips and stories buy our Fitzbillies book

Published by Nathaniel Mahoney



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