I love these gently spiced hot cross buns, speckled with flecks of warm milk chocolate, chunks of soft pear and fat sultanas. Sweetened and glazed with honey, the dough is enriched with butter and egg to make them a hot cross bun to be proud of. I hope you enjoy making them – please don’t worry if the crosses are wonky and they are odd shapes and sizes; ours usually are too!
250g strong white bread flour
250g plain white flour
2 tbsp of honey
1 pear, chopped
7g dried yeast
125ml warm water
50g butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
100g milk chocolate chips
1 tsp of mixed spice
1 tsp of orange zest
1 tsp of lemon zest
For the crosses:
100g plain flour
About 6 tbsp of cold water
Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
Combine the flours, water, milk, yeast, salt and sugar in the mixer bowl and, if you have one, fit the dough hook to mix together the ingredients. If not, use a wooden spoon.
Add the beaten egg, butter and 1 tablespoon of honey and mix to a sticky dough.
If using a mixer, use the dough hook and mix on a medium speed for approximately. 8 minutes. Alternatively, knead by hand in the bowl for around 10 minutes (try not to add much flour – oil your hands with some rapeseed oil to stop the dough sticking).
Put the dough in a large bowl – lightly grease the bowl with a little butter, cover with cling film and leave to rise for a couple of hours or until doubled in size.
Add the sultanas, chopped pear, lemon and orange zest, chocolate chips, mixed spice and knead to combine into the dough. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for another hour in the bowl.
Divide into roughly 12 equal pieces and roll into balls, try to tuck under the ends and tuck in as much of the fruit and chocolate chips as possible.
Line a flat or low-sided baking tray approximately 24cm by 34cm with non-stick baking paper.
Put the balls of dough in neat rows on the lined baking tray (3 rows of 4 balls).
Cover the buns on their tray with a clean tea towel and leave to prove in a warm part of the kitchen for a couple of hours.
Once they have grown a bit (even if they don’t seem to have grown much, they usually grow and rise in the oven as long as they have had a couple of hours resting and proving on the tray).
Put the flour for the crosses in a small bowl, add the water a little at a time and mix well after each addition, until you have a smooth paste. Spoon it into a piping bag or a food bag and snip off a corner with a pair of scissors. Pipe a line across each row and then across the other way.
Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the buns are golden and sound hollow when you tap them underneath.
Carefully lift them out of the oven and leave them on their trays. Immediately brush honey on the top of the hot buns to make them shiny.
Leave to cool on the tray before lifting onto a cooling rack.
Decorate with edible flowers, serve and enjoy!
Recipe courtesy of Miranda Gore Browne. Follow her on @MirandaBakes on instagram.