The best thing about Easter time? Eating hot cross buns! Try this delicious recipe from The Cook + Baker which makes enough to feed a crowd.
Makes 18 buns
250ml Earl Grey tea, strong and hot
250ml skimmed milk
10g (2 teaspoons) dried yeast
110g caster sugar
1 egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
860g strong (bread) flour
2 tablespoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon salt
85g butter, softened
130g dried apricots, diced
For the piping paste:
4 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
For the glaze:
110g caster sugar
butter, to serve
Soak the sultanas in the tea for 30 minutes, then drain thoroughly.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
In a medium saucepan, warm the skimmed milk and 200ml water to 30°C on a thermometer, then remove from the heat. Add the yeast, sugar and egg and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, mixed spice and salt into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Add the softened butter and the yeast mix.
Knead on low speed until just incorporated. Turn the speed to medium and mix for 8 minutes. Add the fruit and knead until all the fruit is evenly distributed through the dough, approximately 1–2 minutes.
Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 minute. Form a ball, and place the dough into a large, lightly greased bowl, then cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to prove for approximately 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Divide into 18 equal pieces and roll into taut balls. Place on the prepared tray, allowing room for spreading. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, leave in a warm place and prove for 45 minutes until doubled in size.
For the piping paste: In a small bowl, mix the flour with the sugar and 60ml water until smooth. Fill a piping (icing) bag fitted with a 5–6 mm (¼ inch) plain nozzle, and pipe crosses on top of the buns.
Bake for 20–25 minutes until golden brown and the buns sound hollow when tapped on the base.
To glaze: In a small saucepan, dissolve the sugar and 50 ml water and bring to the boil. Brush this glaze over the buns.
Recipe extract from The Cook + Baker by Cherie Bevan and Tass Tauroa (Murdoch Books, £20.00). Photography by Chris Chen.