Traditional Hot Cross Buns at Easter weren’t actually a tradition in our house, but they are now! My recipe has added whole wheat pastry flour, which makes them a bit ‘healthier’, and heartier for certain. I also experimented with the recipe a bit. A traditional recipe makes the cross with a flour and water mixture, and piped a’cross’. Most US versions use a sugar icing to form the cross. I’ve done both.
These are quite easy to make and a perfect yeast dough recipe to practice with on this chilly, snowy day. The glaze added after the buns have baked really adds a nice sweetness and shine. I used a melted ‘jam’ from Panache, a local company the makes all sorts of juices, jams and ciders made from apples. The version is used was the Apple Caramel, really yummy. Fantastic local product, let’s keep using local ingredients!
Do as I say, not as I do fail:
- be sure to have your memory card in the camera when photographing, hence no photo of Panache bottle (newbie fail)
- let the dough rise until doubled, adds flavor, but also lightens the whole wheat a bit
Feel free to use any dried fruit you have, just like as with the Irish Tea Brack cake we made in before St. Paddy’s Day. Wasn’t that delicious?
Photo above is pre-cross!
Hot Cross Buns
Lovely, not too sweet buns, perfect to make ahead of time (dough) and bake on Easter morning.
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- zest of one orange well wash the orange
- 1 cup raisins, currants and/or golden raisins any combination
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk warmed
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup melted butter
For the crosses (you may omit if you only want to ice crosses after cooling)
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 7 tablespoons warm water
For the glaze
- 2 tablespoon melted Panache Apple Carmel or apricot jam
- 1 tablespoon hot water
For the icing (you may omit if using flour cross, or use both)
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice from that orange you zested!
Hopefully, you have a stand mixer, if not, save your pennies, they are worth their weight in well, dough :). Combine the flours, yeast, cinnamon, salt, sugar, and zest in the mixer bowl fit the dough hook. Combine the buttermilk, egg and melted butter in a large measuring cup (warmed in microwave for about 20 seconds, to get the chill off) and mix into the dry ingredients to form a sticky dough.
Add the dried fruit, and knead on low speed until silky and smooth. (You can do this by hand, but it will be sticky to handle.) Knead for about 6 minutes. Cover the dough and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.
Deflate the risen dough and divide into 9 equal pieces. Shape into rounds and dust with flour. Place in a 9" x 9" baking pan, cover with plastic wrap or towel, and let rise for another 30 minutes until again, doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. To make the crosses, whisk together the flour and water until smooth, then transfer to a plastic bag and snip off the end to make a fine hole. Pipe a cross on top of each one, then and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the Apple Caramel (or jam) with the water in a pan or in microwave, so it is brushable. Brush mixture over the buns right from the oven. Serve warm, cold, or toasted. Try a little butter too, yum.
For the icing (optional)
Wait to ice until the buns have cooled a bit. Combine confectioners sugar and orange juice. Add more liquid if needed to make a mixture that holds its shape. Again, add to a piping bag or sandwich bag and pipe a cross across the baked cross.
The zest of any citrus fruit is a powerhouse of flavor, much more than the juice itself.
- Zest the fruit at room temp, if you don't get it out of the fridge in time, place it in the microwave for about 15 seconds, to yield more juice.
- To get even more juice, roll the fruit on the counter back and forth a few time under your palm, that get's it started.
- Be sure to not zest into the bitter white pith.
- Zest before you juice!
In a way, this hot cross bun recipe are like an easy to make cinnamon roll, but with much less fuss, not as sweet and a bit healthier with the whole grain flour. It really is a good yeast dough to practice on. I’d love to hear how you like them!
Happy Easter, (if it’s what you celebrate!) or have a wonderful Passover!