Sticky Hot Cross Buns

Sticky Hot Cross Buns

We’ve just about cleared the cupboards of all the leftover Christmas chocolates, yet Easter is just around the corner. Here the Queen of baking, Mary Berry tells us how to make the perfect sticky Hot Cross Buns at home.

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INGREDIENTS (Makes 12)

For The Buns

500g strong white flour plus extra for dusting

75g caster sugar

2 tsp mixed spice powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

10g salt

10g fast-action dried yeast

40g butter

about 300 ml, milk

1 egg, beaten

200g sultanas

50g finely chopped mixed peel

oil, for greasing

FOR THE TOPPING

75g plain flour

2 tbsp golden syrup, for glazing

Method

  1. You will need a piping bag fitted with a fine 3mm nozzle.
  2. Measure the flour, sugar and spices into a large bowl, add the lemon zest and toss together, then add the salt and yeast, placing them on opposite sides of the bowl.
  3. Melt the butter in a pan and warm the milk in a separate pan, allowing them both to cool a little after heating. Add the melted butter and half the tepid milk to the dry ingredients in the bowl. Tip in the beaten egg and use your hands to bring the mixture together, incorporating the flour from the edges of the bowl as you go. Gradually add the rest of the milk, to make a soft pliable dough. You may not need all the milk — it is better for the dough to be on the wet side, rather than too dry.
  4. Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand, incorporating the sultanas and mixed peel into the dough. Lightly knead for 10 minutes until silky and elastic and forming a smooth ball. Kneading can be done in a food processor using a dough hook, if you prefer.
  5. Transfer the ball of dough into an oiled bowl cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 11/2 hours or until doubled in size. (This may take longer if the dough is left to rise in a cool kitchen.)
  6. Turn the risen dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Knock back and knead for a further 5 minutes. Return to the bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for a further hour, or until doubled in size.
  7. Turn the dough out again on to a floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces, shaping each of these into a ball. Line 1-2 baking sheets with baking paper and arrange the balls of dough on the sheets, placing them fairly close together and flattening them slightly.
  8. Slip each baking sheet into a large, clean polythene bag, making sure that the bag doesn’t touch the buns. Leave for 40—60 minutes until the buns have doubled in size. They should spring back when lightly pressed with a finger. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7.
  9. To make the crosses for the top of the buns, add the plain flour to a bowl with 100ml of water. Mix together to make a paste and spoon into the piping bag.
  10. When the buns have risen, remove the polythene bags and pipe a cross on top of each bun. Transfer the buns to the oven and bake for 15—20 minutes until pale golden brown, turning the baking sheets round halfway though, if necessary.
  11. Melt the golden syrup in a pan and, while the buns are still warm, brush the top of each bun with a little melted syrup to give a nice shine, before setting aside to cool on a wire rack.

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