What to do on Easter Sunday when you’ve already filled the cupboards with tasties but there is a sweet tea-time shaped hole in the kitchen – it’s actually a hatch, but I saw Doctor Who and I know all about holes and cracks in walls and time/space continua and giant eyes. So anyway, hot cross buns. With a twist. I, Blogger-D hate cinnamon so as a result these little chaps come to you without mixed spice, that said I have parenthesised it for those who want it. Oh and this takes a while as it’s a Dan Lepard special.

Hot Cross Buns

Preparation time: most of your life (4 1/2 hours)
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Skill level: medium
Makes: 24



  • 1 sachet dried yeast
  • luke warm water – 200ml
  • strong white flour – 870g
  • cold water – 230ml
  • milk powder – 25g
  • caster sugar – 100g
  • sea salt ground fine – 15g
  • butter – 85g
  • egg – 1
  • (mixed spice – 3-4 tsp)
  • raisins – 100g
  • dried apricots – 70g – chopped
  • candied citrus peel – 80g – chopped

Piping paste for the crosses or sundry patterns

  • plain white flour – 4 tbsp
  • caster sugar – 1 tbsp
  • cold water – 30-40ml



  • egg yolk – 1
  • milk – 1 tbsp


  • sugar – 100g
  • water – 50ml


Whisk together the yeast and the warm water to dissolve the yeast. Stir in 200g of the flour. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm place for 2 hours, until the the sponge has risen by a third and has lots of bubbles.

Add the remaining flour to the bubbly sponge along with the cold water, milk powder, sugar, salt, butter and egg (and mixed spice). Mix together for 8 minutes, or until you have a very soft dough – in a machine with a dough hook if you have one, if not then wooden spoon and hands will be just as good if a touch more messy. Then add the raisins, apricots and peel and combine for another minute.

Turn out onto a floured surface, knead for a minute and form a ball. Put back in the bowl and cover with cling film. Leave in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour until doubled in size.

Back onto a floured surface press down to deflate. Divide into 24 pieces and form each into a ball.

Place the balls in nice rows on baking trays lined with non-stick baking parchment. Make sure the balls are close but not touching. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes or until the buns have doubled in size and have joined together.

Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 250C (gas mark 9) and prepare the piping paste for the crosses (or sundry patterns). Mix the flour, sugar and water together and place in a piping bag (or use a freezer bag with a small corner snipped off). Then beat together the egg yolk and milk for the glaze.

Once your buns are bigger and touching each other then mark a cross (or sundry other pattern) in the top with a blunt knife. Brush egg glaze into the pattern and then pipe paste in the indent.

Pop the buns in the oven and upon closing the door reduce the temperature to 180C (gas mark 4). Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the buns are golden with a darkening. They will sound hollow when tapped.

Place on a wire rack. For the glaze, dissolve the sugar in the water, bring to a boil and then brush the glaze over the buns.

Eat far too many.

Verdict: Soft with a sticky crusty crust, lovely and fruity, a multi dimensional bun experience, yum.

Drink: tea

Entertainment: Jarvis Cocker being mellifluous on 6 Music.

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