Andrew McConnell's spiced hot cross buns

Andrew McConnell: 'I can't imagine Easter without these buns.'
Andrew McConnell: 'I can't imagine Easter without these buns.' Photo: William Meppem

There's something about the autumn and the lead up to Easter that always makes me want to start baking again. Perhaps it's the change in weather, or the extra time at home over the holiday period. Make these buns on a chilly afternoon and enjoy the meditative process that can only come from kneading, knocking back and glazing. Plus the rewards are indescribably good, and well worth the effort.

Ingredients

1.65kg plain flour

600g golden raisins

200g dry sour cherries

150g raw sugar

28g dry yeast

zest of 2 lemons

zest of 2 oranges

1½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground cloves

1 tsp salt

820ml whole milk

200g butter

2 eggs

1 tbsp vegetable oil

60ml cold water

Spice glaze

50g sugar

60ml cold water

1½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground cloves

Method

1. Combine 1.5kg flour, raisins, cherries, sugar, yeast, citrus zest, spices and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix on low speed to combine. Warm the milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until butter melts. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then add eggs and whisk. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and knead until smooth, about five minutes. Place in a warm corner of your kitchen to prove for 35 minutes (on top of the fridge is usually a good place).

2. Once doubled in size, knock back the dough and tip it out onto a floured surface. Divide into 20 even pieces and roll each piece into a smooth ball. Arrange in a shallow baking pan lined with baking paper, leaving a little space between each bun for the dough to rise. Set aside to prove again until the dough has almost doubled in size.

3. Preheat the oven to 220C (200C fan-forced). Combine remaining flour, vegetable oil and 60ml cold water in a small bowl and stir to a smooth paste. Transfer the batter into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each bun. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven to 200C (180C fan-forced) and bake for another 10 minutes until buns are golden.

4. While the buns are baking, make the spice glaze. Place 50g sugar, spices and 60ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat to dissolve sugar. Bring to a simmer, then set aside to cool. Brush glaze over buns while they're still hot and serve warm with good quality butter.

Find more of Andrew McConnell's recipes in the Good Food Favourite Recipes cookbook.

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