Preparation time: 15 minutes (plus time to rise)
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Per serving: 266 cals/4g fat
* 7g sachet fast-acting dried yeast
* 450g white bread flour
* 50g wholemeal bread flour
* 2 tbsp caster sugar
* 1 tsp sea salt
* half tsp each of ground mixed spice, ginger and grated nutmeg
* 50g unsalted butter, diced
* 150g currants or sultanas
* 2 tbsp chopped mixed peel
* 250ml tepid milk
* 1 large egg, beaten
* 2 tbsp plain flour
For the glaze
* 4 tbsp milk
* 3 tbsp caster sugar
1. Place the yeast, flours, sugar, salt and spices into a bowl, add the butter and rub it in. Then stir through the dried fruit and peel. 2. Add the milk and beaten egg and mix well. Add a little extra water if the dough is too dry or extra flour if it’s very sticky.
3. Knead on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes. Place the mixture in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 60 - 90 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
4. Punch down the dough with your fist to expel the air, then knead on a lightly floured surface for 2-3 minutes. Divide into 12 portions and shape each into a ball.
5. Line a baking tray with baking paper, then place the balls of dough on it, spacing well apart. Cover and leave for another 45-60 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
6. Heat the oven to 200°C (gas mark 6). For the cross, mix the plain flour to a smooth paste with 1-2 tbsp of cold water. Spoon it into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each bun. Bake for 15-20 minutes until brown.
7. Heat the milk and sugar until dissolved and then boil for one minute. Transfer the buns to a cooling rack and brush with the milk glaze.
TIP: the dough for hot cross buns can be made the night before and given its first rise in the fridge – the chill of the fridge slows down the rise of the dough and increases the flavour of the bread. In the morning you can remove from the fridge, punch down the dough, make the buns and let it have its second rise in a warm spot in the kitchen.
Recipe adapted from Easy Living. Visit www.easyliving.co.uk