When it comes to Easter, you can’t beat indulging in a lovely, sticky hot cross bun. Give this recipe a go – you’ll never buy the shop bought versions again.
• 200 ml semi-skimmed milk
• 55 g unsalted butter
• 2 x 7 g sachet dried yeast
• 455 g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• 1 teaspoon mixed spice
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• ½ whole nutmeg
• 55 g caster sugar
• 2 pieces stem ginger
• 1 large free range egg
• 2 tablespoons plain flour
• 55 g sultanas or raisins
• 30 g dried cranberries
• 2 tablespoons mixed peel
• runny honey, to glaze
Add the milk and 50ml water to a small pan and place over a low heat for a few minutes, or until slightly warm – you should be able to dip your finger in without scalding it.
Meanwhile, add the butter to a separate pan and place over a low heat for a few minutes, or until melted, then set aside.
Transfer the warmed milk mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the yeast. Set aside.
Sift the flour into a large bowl, then add the salt, spices, a few good scrapings of nutmeg and the sugar. Finely chop the stem ginger and stir it into the mix.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter, followed by the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add it to the bowl.
Using a fork, mix well until you have a rough dough, then transfer to a clean flour dusted work surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until soft and springy.
Return the dough to a flour dusted bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise 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 by bashing it with your fist, then sprinkle over the dried fruit and mixed peel and knead into the dough for 1 to 2 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Grease and line a large baking tray.
Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into balls. Evenly space them out on a lined baking tray as you go.
Cover with the tea towel and leave in a warm place for a further 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, place the plain flour and 2 tablespoons water into a small bowl and mix to a thick paste.
Gently pat down the risen buns then use the batter to carefully trace a cross over the top with a piping bag or spoon.
Place the buns into the preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Transfer to a wire cooling rack, brush over a little honey and leave to cool.
Slice open the sticky hot cross buns, spread with a little butter and serve – delicious.
If you prefer, swap the raisins and dried cranberries for your favourite dried fruit. Chopped dried apricots or sour cherries are great for a change.
If you want to keep the buns lovely and moist for longer, soak the dried fruit in fruit juice for a couple of hours beforehand.