I think its a shame that you can buy hot cross buns all year
round. They are such a treat – but more so when they are only around at Easter. There is something wonderful about making your own – rich in spice and fruit and a little sticky to the touch.I like to make a big batch and freeze some so that I don’t run out.
For the cross paste
100g/31⁄2oz/ 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp plain flour
a pinch of salt
1 tsp vegetable oil
For the buns
1⁄2 tsp mixed spice
80g/23⁄4oz/ 1/3 cup mixed peel
180g/61⁄4oz/3⁄4 cup currants or sultanas
250ml/9fl oz/1 cup full-fat milk
3 large eggs
60g/21⁄4oz/1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, diced
500g/1lb 2oz/2 cups strong bread flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
20g/3⁄4oz fresh yeast
1⁄4 tsp salt
For the rum sugar syrup glaze
100g/31⁄2oz/scant 1⁄2 cup sugar
100ml/31⁄2fl oz/1⁄2 cup water
2 tbsp dark rum
2 To make the buns,put the mixed spice, mixed peel and currants or sultanas into a bowl and set aside. Tip the milk and 1 egg into a mixer with the dough hook attached. add the butter, flour, sugar, yeast and salt and mix slow speed for 5 minutes, until the mixture forms a dough. increase the speed to medium for 6–8 minutes, or until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl, add the spice and fruit mix on a slow speed for 1–2 minutes. 3 Turn the dough out onto a worktop and form it into a ball. Put it back into the mixing bowl, cover with a clean cloth and leave it to rest in a draught-free place for an hour. 4 When the dough has risen and nearly doubled in size,carefully tip it out on to your work surface and divide it into satsuma size balls. Roll each piece into a tight ball and place them on a buttered baking tray, close to each other. 5 Make an egg wash by beating the remaining 2 eggs with a pinch of salt. Brush each bun with a little egg wash and place in a warm place for about 11⁄2 hours, until risen. 6 Preheat a fan oven to 190°C/375°F/gas4. If you don’t have a fan oven, adjust the temperature according to your oven manufacturer’s instructions. Brush the buns again with the egg wash and pipe a cross on top of each one, using the cross paste. Bake in the oven for 18–20 minutes. Remove the buns from the oven and transfer them to wire racks to cool.
7 For the rum sugar syrup glaze, mix the sugar and 100ml/31⁄2fl oz/1⁄2 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil for4 minutes. add the rum. Brush over the top of the cooled buns. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. alternatively freeze and defrost at room temperature before serving.