Hot Cross Buns

I adore hot cross buns and try to make a habit of making them every Easter. I’ve made quite a few varieties now, earl grey & orange, dark chocolate and cranberry and this year’s creation: cardamom, cherry & clementine. They’ve all been delicious but, to be fair, any dough that’s enriched with butter, fruit and warming spices is a winner if you ask me!

Recipe

Ingredients

For the dough
  • 500 g strong bread flour
  • 7 g dried yeast sachet
  • 7 g salt
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 50 g Butter
  • 300 ml Whole milk
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ground ginger
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 clementine
  • 75 g mixed peel
  • 175 g dried fruit (I used cherries and sultanas)
For the crosses
  • 75 g Plain Flour
  • 5 tbsp water
For the glaze
  • 2 tbsp ginger preserve

Method

For the dough
 
  1. Lightly crush your cardamom pods until the seeds are released from their shells. Place the shells in a pan with the milk. Set the seeds aside.
  2. Carefully peel your clementine, try to keep the skin whole as it makes the next stage a little easier. Remove the white pith from the skin by gently rubbing with a teaspoon. Add the pith-free clementine skin to the milk. Bring to the boil then take off the heat. Add the butter and stir until the butter has melted. Leave to infuse.
  3. Grind the cardamom seeds down to a powder in a pestle and mortar. Mix together the rest of your dry ingredients (ground cardamom included) in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Once the milk is warm but not hot to touch, remove and discard the cardamom shells. Remove the clementine skins and finely chop. Set the chopped clementine skin aside.
  4. Add the warm, infused milk to the dry ingredients along with an egg. Stir until it comes together. It will be soft and sticky so transfer to lightly floured surface and knead until it becomes smooth and elastic. This will take between 10-15 minutes. Transfer back to the large bowl and cover with tea towel. Leave to rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
  5. Knock back the dough and add in the chopped clementine skin, dried fruit and mixed peel. Knead until the fruit is well incorporated. Place back into bowl, cover and leave to rise for another hour, or until doubled in size.
  6. Knock back the dough again and separate into 15 equal pieces. Roll to form tight balls. Place onto lined baking sheets. Leave enough room so that the dough can expand again. Cover and leave until doubled in size. Approx another hour.
 
For the crosses
  1. Preheat oven to 220C/200fan. Mix together the 75g flour with up to 5 tbsp’s water until you get a thick paste. Add to piping bag with a very small hole. Slowly pipe the crosses so that they cling to the dough.
  2. Bake for 15-20 minutes until brown.
For the glaze
  1. Melt the ginger preserve and sieve out all of the lumps. Brush the tops of the warm buns with the preserve. Leave to cool!
      

Notes

If you don’t fancy piping the tops of the buns with crosses then go against tradition and create simpler Easter buns, topped with sugar crystals!

 
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