March 24, 2013

Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns!
One ha' penny, two ha' penny,
Hot cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons
One ha' penny,
Two ha' penny,
Hot Cross Buns!

Hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun made with raisins or currants and marked with a cross on the top, traditionally eaten on Good Friday.The practice of eating special small cakes at the time of the Spring festival seems to date back at least to the ancient Greeks, but the English custom of eating spiced buns on Good Friday was perhaps institutionalized in Tudor times, when a London bylaw was introduced forbidding the sale of such buns except on Good Friday, at Christmas, and at burials.

The English word "bun" probably came from the Greek boun, which referred to a ceremonial cake of circular or crescent shape, made of flour and honey and offered to the gods. Superstitions regarding bread that was baked on Good Friday date back to a very early period. In England particularly, people believed that bread baked on this day could be hardened in the oven and kept all year to protect the house from fire. Sailors took leaves of it on their voyages to prevent shipwreck, and a Good Friday loaf was often buried in a heap of corn to protect it from rats, mice, and weevils. Finely grated and mixed with water, it was sometimes used as a medicine.

     In England nowadays, hot cross buns are served at breakfast on Good Friday morning.  The English believe that hanging a hot cross bun in the house on this day offers protection from bad luck in the coming year. It's not unusual to see Good Friday buns or cakes hanging on a rack or in a wire basket for years, gathering dust and growing black with mold.

Recipe adapted from here 
Yield: 16 buns

2 1/2 Tsp - Yeast 
3/4 Cup - Warm milk
3 1/4 Cups - All purpose flour (additional 1/4 cup if the dough is very sticky)
1/4 Cup - Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp - Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp - Nutmeg
1 Tsp - Salt
4 Tbsp - Butter, room temperature
2 - Eggs, room temperature 
3/4 Cup - Raisins or Currants
2 Tsp - Orange zest
Egg wash
1 - Egg
1 Tbsp - Milk
1 Tsp - Milk
3 to 4 Tbsp - Powdered sugar

  • In the food processor pulse the 3 1/4 cups flour, salt, sugar, instant yeast, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest and pulse a few times to incorporate the dry ingredients
  • In small bowl whisk milk, eggs
  • With the food processor running pour the liquid mixture through the feeding tube
  • Pulse until the dough comes together.
  • Now add the butter and process until you have smooth and elastic dough.
  • Take the dough out of the food processor and knead in the raisins. Add more flour if the dough is very sticky.
  • Form the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl turning it so that it is well coated.
  • Cover with a wet towel, and let the dough rise until double in volume.
  • Divide the dough into 16 balls
  • Cover with a wet towel and leave the dough to rise for about 45 minutes.
  • For egg wash, whisk egg and milk together.
  • Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash 
  • Bake at 400F for 12 minutes or  until the buns are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack 
  • In a bowl, whisk together the milk and powdered sugar. Place this frosting in a plastic sandwich bag. Cut off a small piece from the tip of the bag and pipe two lines of frosting across each bun to make a cross.
Notes and Tips
  • Make sure the you place the dough in a large bowl while proofing it so that it doesn’t rise and stick to the wet towel
  • If you live in a cold region like me, heat the oven to 40C or 100F and switch it OFF. Switch the oven light on and place the dough for proofing in the warm oven. But please make sure you switch off the oven before you place the dough.
  • The buns should be cooled completely before frosting or the frosting will run


  1. looks really delicious and well done, shema... :)

  2. Wow awesome bake yum...loved d frosting...

  3. love the pics..and that cup is really pretty. Ive always wanted to make them for easter but we get such nice ones at the bakery and i shrug away from trying them at home :(
    this year also i had big plans, but dont think it will work...

  4. Last year also when I saw some blogs posting Hot Cross buns, i thoguht for this year I shoudl try them...then this year now I'm all busy packing up to shift :-) mayb next year or later this year :-P

    Lovely pics and color combo.


  5. I used to eat so much of these buns while growing up.. yours look fantastic!

  6. I m loving ur pics..and I too was singing that nursery song when I saw ur post in reading list :)They look like the one in the song :)

  7. Awesome buns Shema...I love them. Liked the second picture..I also got a cup similar to that for props :)


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