Soft, fluffy, sweet bread, spiced and studded with plump dried fruit before being toasted and served with lashings of butter. What's not to love? I couldn't let Easter pass without whipping up a batch of these classic afternoon treats.
A couple of weeks ago, I visited the beautiful Rye London studio over in East London and spent the day creating, baking and chatting away with Holly, the owner who also took all these amazing photos. It really is such a perfect space - all my kitchen goals in one!
One of the recipes we shot together were these Hot Cross Buns. I've never been the biggest fan of the really traditional Hot Cross Buns - candied peel just doesn't do it for me and I've always found sultanas a bit boring. So, I thought I'd jazz mine up a bit and give them a fresh update with some wonderfully juicy sour cherries and little gems of white chocolate running throughout. I infused the milk with a bit of cardamom, which I'm a bit obsessed with at the moment. It's quite subtle but works great with the lemon zest add a lightness to these buns.
I know that these Hot Cross Buns may seem like a bit of an effort to put together, especially when they're so easy to pick up anywhere at the moment. But trust me when I say these are 10 times better than shop bought! Super soft and fluffy, and adding chocolate was always to going to be a good idea. The buns probably take the best part of day from start to finish but they are SO worth it. Apart from the initial kneading there isn't too much hands on time so once they're proving, you can get on with something else.
R E C I P E
makes 12 buns
300ml Whole Milk
4 Cardamom Pods, crushed
500g White Bread Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Mixed Spice
1/4 tsp allspice
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 Egg, beaten
100g Dried Morello Cherries
100g White Chocolate Chips
75g Plain Flour
5 tbsp Water
200g Caster Sugar
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
1 Cinamon Stick or 1/2 tsp Ground Cinamon
1 Whole Nutmeg
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
M E T H O D
Heat the butter, milk and crushed cardamom in a saucepan over a low heat until the butter has melted.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, spices and lemon zest. Add the salt and yeast on separate sides of the bowl and make a well in the centre.
Pour in the milk mixture and beaten egg. Bring the mixture together to form a dough and knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes until soft and smooth. The dough will be quite sticky to start with but keep working the dough without adding too much extra flour.
Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film or a tea towel. Let it prove in a warm place for 1 hour and a half or until doubled in size.
Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto the worktop and incorporate the dried cherries and white chocolate chips into the dough, kneading again briefly until they're evenly distributed.
Put the dough back into the bowl, cover and leave to rise for another hour.
Divide the dough equally into 12 balls, rolling them up tightly. Place them on a lined baking tray, leaving a little room between each one. Cover the buns with a tea towel and let them rise for about 45 minutes until they've doubled in size.
While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200C and prepare the topping by mixing together the flour and enough water a tablespoon at a time to make a thick paste.
Transfer the flour paste to a piping bag or food bag and snip off a small hole.
Once the buns have risen, pipe crosses over the top of each one and then bake for 18 to 20 minutes until they're a deep brown colour.
To make the glaze, place the sugar, water, spices and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for a few minutes until the syrup thickens.
When the buns are out of the oven, brush them generously with the glaze, giving them two to three coats.
The buns are best served warm with lots of butter, or toasted the next day.