This recipe is from pastry chef Gena Karpf, who runs Sweetness the Patisserie in Epping (anointed Best Sweet Spot in Sydney in the Good Food Under $30 2014 Guide). It pays homage to her training at Le Cordon Bleu, where she learned how special a hot cross bun could be.
1 cup (250ml) milk
1 tbsp honey
30g fresh yeast or 3 tsp dry yeast*
60g bread flour*
565g baker's flour*
90g castor sugar
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp bread improver*
90g salted butter, cubed and softened
100g raisins, roughly chopped
60g candied orange, finely diced (see recipe below)
25ml rice bran oil
75g plain flour
75g castor sugar
1. To make the pre-ferment, warm the milk to 37C. Add honey, yeast and flour and whisk gently to combine. Cover and rest in a warm place, allowing to double in size, for about 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 190C. Once the pre-ferment has doubled in size, transfer to the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add all the remaining ingredients except the butter and fruit. Knead until just combined.
3. Add butter and continue kneading for about 10 minutes or until your dough is smooth and elastic. Add the fruit and mix gently to combine.
4. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased medium-sized bowl and ferment until doubled in size. Punch down and shape into 75g pieces and place on a lightly oiled baking tray. Cover loosely and place in a warm place until the buns have doubled in size. Do not move the buns once they have been placed on the tray.
5. To make the crosses, combine oil, flour and water and mix well with a spatula. Use a piping bag with a small attachment to pipe crosses on to buns.
6. Place tray in the oven and bake until golden, about 12-15 minutes. While buns are baking, prepare the glaze by warming sugar and water in a small pot until sugar has dissolved completely. Remove the buns from the oven and brush with warmed glaze. Allow to cool before devouring.
* Fresh yeast is available from specialty delis and bakeries. If unavailable, substitute dry yeast in the amount given. Bread flour is available in most supermarkets. If unavailable, substitute with plain flour. Bread improver is available in most supermarkets.
Makes 15-17 buns
There's no substitute for handmade candied citrus: it's fresh, simple and will last for months in a covered container in the fridge. Candied orange can be used in any recipe calling for mixed peel.
100g fresh oranges (navel or valencia)
100g (liquid measurement) water
100g castor sugar
1. Combine water, castor sugar and glucose in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. While sugar solution is heating, cut oranges into slices about 7-8mm thick. Roughly chop slices into strips of a reasonably consistent size.
2. Immerse oranges in the sugar syrup, return to the boil and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes, covered. Take pan off the heat and allow to stand for two hours, covered, without stirring, to allow the warm sugar syrup to soften the orange peel.
3. After two hours, cook uncovered on medium heat until the oranges have reached 105C. Remove from heat.
4. Allow to cool in the pot then transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to six months.
Correction: The original version of this recipe listed the yeast quantity as 3 tbsp. This is incorrect. It has been changed to 3 tsp.