Hot Cross Buns – An Easter Tradition

Baked Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns are the epitome of Easter. Ironically this yeast bun so synonymous with Christianity has its roots deeply set in pagan traditions from around the world.  The humble Hot Cross Bun has historic links to the Inca, Roman, Egyptian, Saxon and Aztec people.  Traditional holds that early Christians adopted the popular fruit bun as a way of reaching out to pagans through the aligning of their icons and celebrations.  Regardless of its true origin or meaning, the Hot Cross Bun is a tasty addition to any celebration!

A delicious yeast bun best served warm and slathered in butter, the traditional Hot Cross Bun is characterised by its spiced, fruit laden dough and of course its symbolic cross.  This recipe is a great starting place for any lover of sweet breads as it can easily be adapted to suit the baker’s tastes.  For example I substituted mixed dried fruit and dates for the sultanas originally called for in this recipe.  The result was pure magic – the mixed fruit gave depth of flavour and the dates provided gooey goodness and their characteristic sweetness.

For novice bread makers, this is a excellent place to begin honing your skills.  Yes it does take a bit of time, but with all the kneading required you won’t have to worry about rushing off to the gym!

Feel like some extra indulgence?  Why not try out my Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns?

Hot Cross  Buns

  • 1Tbsp Yeast
  • 1/2C Sugar (caster/superfine)
  • 1 1/2C (12 fl oz) Lukewarm Milk
  • 4 1/4C Flour (sifted)
  • 2tsp Mixed Spice*
  • 2tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 50G (1 1/2oz) Butter (melted)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1C Mixed Dried Fruit**
  • 1/2C Dried Dates (chopped)

For Crosses

  • 1/2C Flour
  • 1/3C Water
  • Preheat oven to 200C (400F)
  • Place yeast, milk and 2tsp of the sugar in a bowl and set aside for 5 minutes or until the mix starts to foam
  • In the meantime, mix flour, spices, butter, egg, fruit and remaining sugar
  • Once yeast mixture begins to foam (after 5 minutes) add to flour
  • Bring mixture together until sticky dough forms then turn out onto counter and knead on lightly flour surface for 8 minutes or until dough feels smooth and elasticHot Cross Bun dough after kneading
  • Place dough in oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or doubled  in size
  • Divide dough into 12 pieces and form into balls
  • Grease and/or line a square cake tin (I used a couple of Pyrex dishes)
  • Place the balls of dough in the tin, cover and allow to rise for 30 minutes
  • Combine the extra water and flour and pipe crosses on the buns
  • Bake for 35 minutes or until buns are well browned and springy to the touchBaked Hot Cross Buns
  • Optional – brush buns with glaze whist still hot***
  • Single Hot Cross Bun

* If you don’t have Mixed Spice in the cupboard you can make your own – I used – 1/2tsp of Ginger, 1/2tsp All Spice, 1/2tsp Nutmeg, 1/4tsp Ground Cloves, 1/4tsp Cinnamon

** For an alternative to the mixed fruit and dates used above feel free to substitute with 1 1/2C Sultanas and 1/3C Candied Mixed Peel (optional)

***Tart and Bun Glaze

  • 1/2C Sugar
  • 1/4C Water
  • 2tsp Powdered Gelatine
  • 1Tbsp Water
  • Mix sugar with 1/4C water in a small saucepan and heat over low temperature heat stirring until sugar is dissolved
  • In a separate bowl, sprinkle gelatine over 1Tbsp Water, mix to form a paste and add to sugar water
  • Cook for one minute


Inspired by Donna Hay Modern Classics Book 2

This entry was posted in Baking, Breakfast / Brunch, Easter, Holiday, Quick Bread and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Hot Cross Buns – An Easter Tradition

  1. Pingback: Date Loaf – Book In A Baking Date | To Serve, With Love

  2. Pingback: Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns « Adventures in Baking, Cooking & Eating

  3. Scott says:

    How about you make some ‘Hot Happy Buns’ next time with smiley faces on them!

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