Hot Crossed Buns
Makes 12 servings Never mind bunnies and eggs…the surest sign of Easter season may be the hot crossed bun. These yeast-raised treats were first made as spiced fruit buns and were popular during the Tudor period in England. They were later decorated with a cross on top and sold “hot out of the oven”—hence, their…

CIA FOODIES


Hot Crossed Buns

Makes 12 servings Never mind bunnies and eggs…the surest sign of Easter season may be the hot crossed bun. These yeast-raised treats were first made as spiced fruit buns and were popular during the Tudor period in England. They were later decorated with a cross on top and sold “hot out of the oven”—hence, their name. In a 1592 decree, Queen Elizabeth I ruled that bakers could only offer them for sale for special occasions, one being Good Friday.

Ingredients

Sponge
  • 1 1/3 cups lukewarm (90°F) milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon honey
  • 1 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
Final Dough
  • Sponge (see above)
  • 1/2 cup butter, soft
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied lemon peel
  • Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 2 tablespoons cold milk or water), as needed
Hot Cross Topping
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons eggs (beat egg with a fork before measuring)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Mix the sponge ingredients by hand until homogenous. Allow to ferment (rise) for 30 minutes. While the sponge is fermenting, mix the topping.
  2. To prepare the hot cross topping: Put the butter in a bowl of an electric mixer. Add the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla and zest. Place the bowl on a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix for one minute on low speed. Add the flour and continue to mix until homogenous, scraping down the bowl as needed. After mixing, the topping is ready to be piped on top of the buns. Place the topping in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain piping tip and set aside.
  3. Once the sponge has fermented, mix it by hand with all final dough ingredients except the currants and lemon peel, until the dough begins to pull from the sides of the bowl. Then add the currants and lemon peel and mix until incorporated. Allow to sit in the bowl at room temperature, covered, for 40 minutes, until the dough has almost doubled in size.
  4. Divide the dough into 2-ounce pieces and gently round them. Allow to rest, covered, for 15 minutes.
  5. Round the rolls tighter and place onto sheet pan close together, so they will bake together. Egg wash, cover and allow to ferment for one hour.
  6. Egg wash once more and, using a pastry bag, pipe a cross with the topping on each bun. Bake at 350°F for approximately 18 minutes, or until the buns have become a deep golden brown. The cross will gain slight color around the edges.
  7. Cool before serving.

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