One of my favourite things about this time of year are Hot Cross Buns, I love them! Although I have a confession, I don’t like currants and sultanas, so when I buy them I end up having to pick them all out before toasting them and smothering in butter. The best Hot Cross Buns are from GAIL’S Bakery in London, I used to live near Queens Park and every Easter would pop in (almost daily) to treat myself! If you’re not near to one of their bakeries have a go at making your own with their recipe.
This year I fancied a twist on this classic bun, here’s my recipe for Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns.
- 220ml Semi-skimmed milk
- 50g Unsalted butter
- 450g Plain flour
- 1 tsp Fine salt
- 7g Sachet of instant yeast
- 2 tsp Ground mixed spice
- 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
- 45g Caster sugar
- 175g Chocolate chopped into small chunks (I used dark but use milk if you prefer)
- Zest of 2 large oranges
- 1 Medium organic egg, beaten
For the crosses:
- 50g Plain flour
For the egg wash:
- 1 Large organic egg
- 1 tsp milk
For the glaze:
- 2 tbsp Caster sugar
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange
Heat the milk until it is hot but not boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Put to one side and allow the butter to melt into the milk as the milk cools.
Meanwhile, mix the flour, salt, yeast, mixed spice, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.
When the milk and butter mixture is tepid pour it all into the flour mixture.
Add the beaten egg.
Bring the mixture together to form a dough and turn out and knead for 5 to 10 minutes until springy.
Place in a clean, oiled bowl and cover with oiled cling film.
Allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour.
After this time, the dough should have doubled in size.
With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the chopped chocolate. Knead into the dough, making sure it’s well distributed. Leave to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size, again covered by some oiled cling film.
Portion it into 12 pieces and form into buns by stretching the edges of each one down and under using the edge of your hand, until they make neat, tight balls.
Arrange the buns on a baking tray lined with baking paper (all the buns on one tray) and make sure you keep an even gap between them. Cover again with the oiled cling film and allow to rise until doubled in size in a warm place.
Pre-heat the oven to 220C.
When the buns are ready (the sides of each bun should be touching), make an egg wash by whisking the egg and milk together. Brush the buns carefully with this egg wash and leave to dry out for 10 minutes. Brush again.
For the crosses, mix the flour with enough water to make a soft paste. Use a piping bag to pipe crosses onto each bun.
Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until just turning dark brown.
Whilst they are in the oven, put the caster sugar with 2 tbsp orange juice into a small pan and warm until the sugar dissolves.
When the buns come out of the oven, brush immediately with the sugar syrup. These are best eaten on the day they are made or they can be frozen. I made a Hot Cross Bun Bread and Butter Pudding with my leftovers.