I've been asked for a hot cross bun recipe so often recently, that I just had to come up with something before the Good Friday deadline came around. Almost at the last minute, I've managed it. There are a few stages to these sticky, tender buns, but none of them are onerous, just put the radio on, dance about the kitchen a bit and pray for sunny weather.
Hot Cross Buns makes 12
Easter definitely calls for some tender, cinnamon scented, currant studded buns with a sticky glaze. These are best eaten almost straight out of the oven whilst still warm, but they make great toast the next day with lots of butter, or a section of Easter egg if you’ve got any left! Add the zest of an orange or some ground cardamom if you’d like to ramp up the flavour a bit. Use psyllium husk powder, or grind the husk very finely in a coffee grinder or high speed blender – you could try xanthan gum instead, you’d probably need between 1-2 tsp.
For the buns
140g potato starch
140g tapioca starch
100g buckwheat flour
60g quinoa flour
3-4 tsp ground cinnamon
26g psyllium husk powder
6g fast acting yeast
6g sea salt
2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites
100g currants (or raisins/sultanas)
60g chopped candied peel
For the cross
30g potato starch
20g buckwheat flour
40-50g milk or water
For the glaze
40g white sugar (or a couple of tablespoons of marmalade)
In a mixing bowl, whisk together starches, flours, psyllium and yeast.
In a small saucepan warm the milk, butter, salt and sugar together until the butter melts and pour into a jug to cool a little. When it’s cooled to pleasantly warm, whisk in the eggs and egg whites and pour into the dry ingredients. Whisk vigorously until a smooth, sticky dough forms. Squidge it with your hands if there are any lumps at all, or put into a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and leave to run for a few minutes. Stir in the currants and peel and scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl to prove. Cover and leave in a warm place (30ºC is ideal) to prove for 45 minutes.
While the dough proves, make the cross. Mix together the cross ingredients, adding enough milk or water to make a smooth, pipeable paste – it will stiffen up a little as it sits. Scrape into a piping bag and set aside.
Make the glaze too while you wait. Heat the sugar with 20g of water until the sugar dissolves and set the syrup aside. Alternatively sieve out the bits from some marmalade or apricot jam and let it down to a glaze consistency with a little boiling water.
When the dough has proved, tip it out of the bowl onto an oiled surface and cut into 12 evenly sized pieces. With lightly oiled hands, tuck the sides of each piece underneath and form into a round bun shape in your hands before placing your bun onto a greased tray – or use a silicone mat. Repeat with the other pieces, placing each bun only about 1cm away from the others so that they rise up together and touch – this will help prevent them flattening out too much. Cover lightly with a cloth and leave to prove again in a warm place for about an hour or so, until they look puffy – longer if your house is cool.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC fan (or 220ºC without fan) and place a tray in the bottom of the oven. Pipe crosses on the buns by piping all across one line of buns and then across the other way. Place the buns in the oven and throw some water on the tray in the bottom to create steam – or give three bursts of steam, timed about 4 minutes apart if you have a steam oven. Bake for 20 minutes, until the buns are well browned and firm.
Leave the buns on the tray while you brush them generously with the glaze. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, tuck in!
This recipe and accompanying image are not to be reproduced in any form without the express permission of the copyright holder Naomi Devlin.