Hot Cross Buns
310ml warmed milk
60g caster sugar
16g instant dried yeast (about 4 teaspoons)
600g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
60g butter, softened
1.5 cups of raisins / sultanas (375ml) – or to taste
60g plain flour
2 Tbl apricot jam, warmed in a pan over low heat and strained
1. Whisk together sugar, milk and yeast until sugar has dissolved. Yeast can really fly all over the place so work over the sink if you can. Cover the mixture and set it aside for 10 minutes until it becomes frothy.
2. Mix flour, salt and spices in large bowl. Rub butter into flour until crumbly. It's vital to have the butter soft or you'll have really tired forearms like me as my butter was still cold.
3. Stir in the sultanas, egg (I beat it slightly) and frothy yeast mixture until combined.
4. Flour a surface quite liberally, as well as your hands. I found that I put far too less flour initially and the dough stuck to the bench and my fingers badly. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Lightly grease a large clean bowl (I used can oil spray) and place dough into it. Turn dough so it is coated with grease. Cover in clingwrap and leave in a warm, draught-free place for 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
5. Remove clingwrap and punch dough until it has dropped in size a bit. Give it a quick knead and divide into 12 pieces.
6. Placed into a greased 20 x 30 cm baking tray, cover with clingwrap and leave in a warm place to rise for 15 minutes. Don't use too small a tray or they become squashed together like mine and don't look quite as nice. Preheat oven to 200C.
7. Whisk together flour and water to make cross paste. Pipe onto buns. Use a fine piping tip or you'll get big gluggy dough crosses like I did, which do not taste good. Bake at 200C for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 180C and bake a further 15 minutes. Buns are ready when it sounds hollow when you tap the top.
8. Brush with warmed apricot jam liberally to get that nice glossy shine and flavour.