To celebrate Easter (not that I am a huge fan of Easter) I got my Mary Berry on baking these delicious hot cross buns from the latest edition of the Great British Bake Off Masterclass. Despite having watched the programme twice and having the recipe written down in front of me, I somehow still managed to get them wrong. However they turned out fantastic anyway, proving that even the most haphazard baker doesn’t have an excuse for not making a batch of these.
500g strong white bread flour
50g caster sugar
10g fast action yeast
150ml whole milk
250g dried fruit of your choice (sultanas, raisins, mixed peel, Mary Berry suggests 180g dried fruit, 50g mixed peel)
zest of 1 orange (plus about half the juice)
1 apple, diced into small chunks
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
75g plain flour
75ml approx. cold water
2 tsp apricot or ginger jam (whatever you have in the cupboard)
2 tsp warm water
Weigh out all of the dry dough ingredients into a large mixing bowl, remembering to keep the salt and the yeast on opposite sides of the bowl. Add the eggs and the milk and mix with your hands to ensure the butter is mixed thoroughly and there are no large chunks. By now you should have a vaguely dough-like substance that needs a bit of water to help it come together. Add the water bit by bit until you reach a slightly sticky dough.
Turn out onto the worktop and knead away for 5-10 minutes, stretching the dough and knocking it back. Throw the dough back into the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to prove for around an hour.
When the dough has about doubled in size, throw in the fruit and spices. Knead gently to ensure it is evenly distributed throughout the dough. Cut the dough into 12 evenly sized pieces and roughly shape them into balls. Place on a baking tray 3 x 4 with about an inch between each. Leave to prove, covered in cling film, for another hour until the balls are just about touching. Heat your oven to 200 degrees.
Mix the flour with around 50 mls of water to form a thick paste. Add more water slowly to form more of a battery consistency that will be pipe-able. You may not need the whole 75 mls, though you may need a little more. Spoon the batter into a piping bag and pipe over all of the buns on the baking tray – you needn’t do each individually, one long sweep across all 3-4 will give a more professional look.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins until dark golden brown. As soon as they come out of the oven, mix up your glaze and brush over the hot buns to give the shiny, sticky finish that make hot cross buns oh so tasty.
Enjoy warm, toasted or cold with lashings of butter or jam.