Although Easter is often about chocolate, here is a treat that isn’t. Eaten all over the Commonwealth, Hot Cross Buns are a typical Easter treat, without an ounce of chocolate in sight.
300ml milk (+ a little extra)
500g bread flour (+ 75g for cross)
1 tsp salt
75g caster sugar
1tbsp vegetable oil
1 egg beaten
50g mixed peels (orange and citrus)
1 apple peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp apricot jam for glaze
1 Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter.
2 Leave to cool.
3 Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl.
4 Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add the egg.
5 Using a wooden spoon, mix well, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.
6 Tip on to a lightly floured surface and until smooth and elastic.
7 Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl.
8 Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hr.
9 Add the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon.
10 Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed.
11 Leave to rise for 1 hr more covered by some well-oiled cling film.
12 Divide the dough into 15 even pieces.
13 Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface.
14 Arrange the buns on baking trays lined with baking paper,
15 Leave enough space for the dough to expand.
16 Cover with a clean tea towel, then set aside for 1 hr.
17 Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.
18 Mix the flour with about 5 tbsp water to make a thick paste for the cross.
19 Draw a line along each row of buns, then another to create crosses.
21 Bake for 20 mins until golden brown.
22 Melt the apricot jam. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.