Recipe: Hot Cross Buns for Easter

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Hot cross buns are the quintessential Easter brunch treat. Full of tradition, they present beautifully on a platter and are perfect alongside a cup of coffee and a slice of quiche.

Don’t be daunted by the recipe. It is time-consuming— about 3 hours from start to finish — but not difficult. And all of the ingredients are probably already in your kitchen. We recommend spending the time while the dough rises to dye eggs or prep a white wine sangria.

This is a hot cross buns recipe I’ve used for years. It’s originally from The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking by Brother Rick Curry, S.J., but I’ve tweaked here and there along the way. Feel free to add more or less currants, plus any other dried fruit, like apricots or golden raisins.

Hot Cross Buns

Yield: 24 buns-

Hot Cross Buns

Adapted from The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking by Brother Rick Curry, S.J.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 cup warm whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 6 to 6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3 whole eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • For the glaze
  • 1 tablespoon cold milk
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • For the icing
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons warm milk

Instructions

  1. Combine yeast and water in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and dissolve. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the remaining sugar, warm milk, salt, nutmeg and butter. Beat vigorously for 10 minutes, gradually adding about 4 cups flour until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolk to the batter, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Stir in the currants, and add 2 cups more flour to make a soft dough.
  4. Turn out on a lightly floured surface. Knead for 15 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed.
  5. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl and turn to coat on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk— about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Punch down the dough. Cover with a tea towel and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  7. Grease a baking sheet and line with parchment paper. Roll golf ball sized portions of the dough into smooth balls and place about 3 inches apart. Cover with a tea towel and let rise again until almost doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  9. Using a sharp knife, make a 1/2-inch deep slash in each of the rolls. Bake for 20 minutes
  10. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Mix cold milk, confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice together and brush on to each roll, then bake for 5 more minutes. Transfer to a wire wrack to cool.
  11. To make the icing, combine the sugar and vanilla, gradually beat in the milk until smooth. When buns are completely cool, ice a cross on the indentations.
http://food.lohudblogs.com/2014/04/15/easter-baking-hot-cross-buns/

Hot Cross Buns

Adapted from The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking by Brother Rick Curry, S.J. Yield: 24 buns.

1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1/2 cup sugar, divided

1 cup warm whole milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

4 tablespoons butter, softened

6 to 6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided

3 whole eggs, plus 1 egg yolk

1/2 cup currants

For the glaze

1 tablespoon cold milk

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

For the icing

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons warm milk

Combine yeast and water in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and dissolve. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Stir in the remaining sugar, warm milk, salt, nutmeg and butter. Beat vigorously for 10 minutes, gradually adding about 4 cups flour until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Add the whole eggs and the egg yolk to the batter, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Stir in the currants, and add 2 cups more flour to make a soft dough.

Turn out on a lightly floured surface. Knead for 15 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed.

Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl and turn to coat on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk— about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down the dough. Cover with a tea towel and let rest for about 10 minutes.

Grease a baking sheet and line with parchment paper. Roll golf ball sized portions of the dough into smooth balls and place about 3 inches apart. Cover with a tea towel and let rise again until almost doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using a sharp knife, make a 1/2-inch deep slash in each of the rolls. Bake for 20 minutes

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Mix cold milk, confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice together and brush on to each roll, then bake for 5 more minutes. Transfer to a wire wrack to cool.

To make the icing, combine the sugar and vanilla, gradually beat in the milk until smooth. When buns are completely cool, ice a cross on the indentations.

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About Author

Megan McCaffrey is a food writer for The Journal News and contributor to the Small Bites Blog. She has a degree in Digital Media from Fordham University and a fondness for good craft beer. She loves to bake, read cooking blogs and taste all the Lower Hudson Valley has to offer. Megan lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut with her husband and three kids.

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