Easter is a lot of people’s favourite holiday (next to Christmas) for many reasons. Plenty of which have to do with time-honoured traditions and religious principles, but there are reasons of a sweeter variety too. One of the most delicious treats that emerge this time of year—5 months earlier is you’re a supermarket apparently—is the simple, yet delicious, hot cross bun. I’m sure there are plenty of us out there who will be buying (or already have bought) some of these delightful baked goods over the next couple of months, but have you ever considered making some of your own? Well you’re in luck, because we asked our star baker Heather Brown, to give us the low down on the perfect buns and indeed she did.
Meet Heather Brown
With 20 years of baking experience, Heather Brown takes great pride in running her own business delivering high quality, bespoke bakes for any occasion or event.
Heather is always tinkering in the kitchen to rustle up something new and she started her business in the belief that bespoke baking and catering can be so much more exciting that the often bland, beige buffets presented at events. In that vain, every order that Heather takes is specifically tailored to her client’s needs and every menu is designed to make sure that the food is delicious, and the perfect compliment to any event.
Heather also has experience with and is available to work collaboratively with brands to help with blog or advertising content and can come up with bespoke recipes to fit with brand imaging and lifestyle shoots.
RECIPE: Hot Cross Buns
450g Strong White Bread Flour
2tsp instant yeast (1 sachet)
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 orange (zest and juice)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
200g dried fruit (I’ve used dried cherries)
For the ‘crosses’:
75ml water 75g plain flour
For the glaze:
1tbsp granulated sugar 2 tbsp water
In a saucepan, add the milk, butter, orange juice and zest. Heat on a low heat so that the butter has melted and the mixture is lukewarm. Beat in the egg.
Place the flour in a large bowl, add the caster sugar, cinnamon and salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until they have combined to form a soft dough (you can add either more milk or more flour if necessary). Knead this dough for 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic (this can be done using a stand mixer and dough hook if you have one). Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film or a clean tea towel. Leave the dough in a warm place for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
Once the dough has doubled in size, tip out the dough onto the lightly floured surface and knead lightly for 1 minute. Tip your dried fruit onto the dough and knead the dough so that the fruit is distributed evenly throughout.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball shape. Place the 12 balls onto the tray and lightly cover with cling film or a clean towel and leave for the dough balls to rise (about 45 minutes).
Preheat the oven to 200/180 fan/gas 6.
Whilst the dough is rising, mix together the plain flour and the water to form a paste. Once the 45 minutes are up, drizzle the cross shape across each bun – either with a spoon or using a small piping bag.
Bake the buns for 20 minutes (or until the buns are golden on top.
Whilst the buns are baking, heat together the sugar and water until the sugar has dissolved. When the buns come out of the oven, brush the sugar glaze over each bun for that glossy shine.