As soon as the first sights of Spring emerge, hot cross buns make an appearance all over the UK. And what joy these bring!
In this version, I have swapped the raisins out (as they seem to be unappealing for many) for pistachios and lemon & orange candied peel. The combination of pistachios, lemon and orange in these hot cross buns is not only delicious but also brightens up the little buns with yellow and green, very much like the daffodils you get around Easter this time of year.
Start by warming up half the milk (100ml) until just lukewarm, either by putting it for a few seconds in the microwave or warming it in a saucepan over low heat. Place the yeast in a small bowl and gradually stir in the warm milk until fully combined. Set aside for now.
In a large bowl, place the bread flour, followed by the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ground cloves and light brown sugar. Mix until combined, then add ¾ teaspoon of salt, the egg, milk and the milk & yeast mixture. At this stage, you can mix it with a wooden spoon for 10 to 15 minutes until fully combined. Alternatively, if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook and mix on low speed for 5 minutes.
Then, add the butter (at room temperature), orange and lemon zest and sunflower oil. Mix until fully combined. Finally, add in the candied lemon and orange peel, as well as the pistachios, slightly chopped beforehand. Mix until the dried fruits and nuts are well incorporated and place into a bowl that is lightly greased. Cover with cling film or a tea towel until the dough has doubled in size. This should take about 2 hours.
TIP – At this stage, if you’re short on time, you can place the dough to prove overnight in the fridge. Just take it out for 1 to 2 hours before moving on to the next stage.
Prepare your baking tray by lining it with baking paper.
Next, knock the air out of the dough and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Form them into little balls and place them on your baking tray in rows, with about 2cm between each bun as they will expand when baking. Gently cover in cling film and leave to prove for 30 to 40 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat your oven to 180˚C/ 160˚C fan oven.
Make your cross mixture by combining the 50g of flour with 40ml of water and the allspice. Mix to a paste and transfer to a piping bag, or alternatively, a cone created with baking parchment works well too. Snip the end just by about 0.5cm and pipe crosses over the buns. I’ve found that the easiest way to pipe your hot cross buns is by piping all the buns at once horizontally, then vertically.
Bake your hot cross buns for 25 to 30 minutes until golden.
As they are baking, prepare the glaze. Place the caster sugar and orange juice with 1-2 tablespoons of water in a saucepan and heat over low heat until the sugar dissolves completely. This should take 2 to 3 minutes. Alternatively, you can glaze your hot cross buns with Lyle’s Golden Syrup warmed until runnier.
9.When the hot cross buns are ready, brush all of the glaze over immediately whilst they are still hot.