Hot Cross Buns

Q: What do you get if you pour a kettle of boiling water down a rabbit hole?

A: A hot cross bun!

A truly dreadful joke I admit but homemade hot cross buns are wonderful I promise   They are time consuming but most of that is because you have to wait longer than normal to let the dough rise, partly because it is an enriched dough and partly because the spices seem to slow the yeast down

Mind you, I cheat and make and shape my dough the day before and leave to prove in fridge overnight, then remove from fridge an hour before baking so we can have them for breakfast on Good Friday without getting up at the crack of dawn!!!

I confess too, that I use a jar of specially saved mincemeat from Christmas for my hot cross buns. The fruit is already full of spices and, as it doesn’t have to be added until the end of kneading time, the fruit doesn’t keep popping out as you work the dough!  The recipe for mincemeat is on an earlier post but if you don’t have any a mix of sultanas and raisins soaked in orange and lemon juice with cinnamon and left overnight works well.

I don’t know about you but I have never really liked the texture of the crosses  on hot cross buns.   I went to an Easter Baking Workshop at The Suffolk Foodhall with the brilliant Sue Hudson last week and she made her hot cross buns with ready rolled shortcrust pastry which is a brilliant idea and one I have copied here  She also taught me that you can vary the darkness of the finish of the top by using either a beaten whole egg for a medium brown colour or an egg yolk heated with a couple of teaspoons of cold water for a dark one.  Sue does all sorts of bread workshops in East Anglia – if you get a chance I’d certainly recommend going on one  I’ve been on 3 so far!!  Her website is should you be interested.


  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 10g yeast (or 7g dried dissolved in the warmed milk)
  • 75g butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 5g salt
  • 250g milk
  • an egg
  • 175g mincemeat
  • part of a pack of all butter, ready rolled, shortcrust pastry
  • beaten egg to glaze



  1. Mix together flour and sugar in a bowl.
  2. Crumble in fresh yeast if using and rub in
  3. Stir in the salt
  4. Melt butter in small pan and add milk.  Mixture should be slightly warm.
  5. Remove from heat and beat in egg
  6. Pour wet mix into flour, and combine until a dough is formed.
  7. Turn out onto worksurface and knead for 10 mins (no cheating).
  8. At end of time add mincemeat to dough and knead for another 2 mins until well incorporated
  9. Put dough into lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to prove for 90 minutes or until doubled in size
  10. Turn out dough, shape into 12 buns and place on baking tray cover and leave to rise again. It is here I put mine into the fridge as detailed above, but if you aren’t it takes about another 60mins till buns double in size
  11. Heat oven to 190c/170c fan
  12. Brush buns with beaten egg (see above) and put on strips of pastry to form crosses on each bun, snipping pastry between each bun
  13. Bake in oven for 16-18 mins till cooked

Tip: for a shiny glaze combine 150g sugar and 150ml water in small pan and heat until sugar has dissolved  Brush over buns as they come out of oven

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