Hot Cross Buns are the herald of Easter for me. The spicy aroma of the baking buns is so warm and special. Hot Cross Buns from a bakery are so soft and fresh! But supermarket versions are so full of preservatives and 'numbers' - just look at the ingredients list on the label - that one year I actually got gastric cramps from them. I swore I would never eat supermarket buns again.
This bake-at-home recipe is derived from a traditional recipe that won first place at The Royal Easter Show. I have made it with sugar in previous years. But now I like to reduce my sugar intake, so I have experimented and modified it for dextrose.
The recipe takes about 1.5 hours from start to finish. I find kneading the dough is quite therapeutic, but you have to remember not to handle it too much or you will make the dough tough!
This version of Hot Cross Buns is traditional, so it is lighter on the spices than many modern versions. You can adjust the level of spices to suit your taste. You can choose your favourite fruit, whether sultanas, currants or raisins, or even citrus peel.
Whisk the yeast with 1 teaspoon of the dextrose, 1 teaspoon of the flour and all of the milk in a small bowl. Let this mixture stand in a warm place (20-30degrees) for 10 minutes until foamy.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, dextrose, salt and spices. Rub in the flour. Mix in the egg, yeast mixture and fruit. When it is mostly combined, turn the dough out onto a pastry mat or the bench and knead until smooth. Put the dough back in the mixing bowl, cover with a clean, dry tea towel. Leave to stand in a warm place (20-30 degrees) to rise for about 40 minutes until it is doubled in size.
Turn the dough out onto the pastry mat again and knead until smooth. Pinch out into 15 balls of approximately 90g each.
Place the balls onto a greased/lined lamington tray and let rise again for 10-15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celcius
Pipe flour paste crosses onto the buns and then bake at 190 degress for 12-15 minutes, until golden on top.
Take buns out of the oven and immediately brush with glaze. Leave to cool in tin, then turn out onto racks to cool completely.