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hot cross buns

Pâques just wouldn’t be Pâques without Hot Cross Buns and this recipe from Emma Gilchrist ensures they will rise to the occasion!

Hot cross buns are a Good Friday tradition, marking the end of Lent.  Quoted in Poor Robin’s Almanac in 1733: “Good Friday comes this month, the old woman runs. With one or two a penny hot cross buns”.

Nowadays they are often eaten all year round.  In Australia, for instance, they change the cross to a smiley face and call it the Not Cross Bun!

hot cross buns

Emma and John Gilchrist

Hot Cross Buns

(makes 12)

200ml Semi-skimmed milk

50ml Water

55g Unsalted butter

2 x 7g Sachets dried yeast

455g Strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting

1 tsp Mixed spice

1 tsp Ground cinnamon

1 Whole nutmeg for grating, or ground nutmeg

55g Caster sugar

1 Large free-range egg, beaten

4 tbs Plain flour

85g Sultanas or raisins

15g Crystallised ginger, finely chopped

Runny honey

1 tsp Sea salt

Warm the milk and water in a small pan over a low heat (you should be able to dip your finger in without scalding it).  In a separate pan, melt the butter over a low heat, set aside.

Put the milk mix in a medium bowl and stir in the yeast.

Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the salt, spices, nutmeg, sugar and ginger, and mix together.

Make a well in the centre, pour in the butter, then the yeast mixture and egg.

Mix well to a rough dough.  Knead on a flour-dusted work surface for around 10 mins until soft and springy.

Return the dough to a flour-dusted bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and prove in a warm place for at least an hour, or until doubled in size.

Transfer the dough to a clean, flour-dusted work surface.  Knock the air out with your fist, sprinkle over the dried fruit and knead into the dough for 1 to 2 mins.

Grease and line a large baking tray.  Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a ball, evenly spacing them out on the tray. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for a further 30 mins, or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/Gas 5.

In a small bowl, mix the flour and 4tbs water to a thick paste, then transfer to a piping bag. Gently pat down the risen buns and pipe a cross on top.

Place the hot cross buns in the heated oven for 15 to 20 mins, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire cooling rack, brush over a little honey to glaze, leave to cool.

To serve, slice open the sticky hot cross buns, toast and spread with butter and serve.


hot cross buns

Emma has worked with great chefs in some of the best restaurants around the world.  Today, Emma and John Gilchrist run Les Caulins cookery school


First published in the Feb to April 2020 issue of The Local Buzz 


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