Kymberly loves to cook, bake, and preserve. She'd love more time to experiment in the kitchen and come up with delicious (healthy) recipes!
Sweet, fragrant, filled with spices and dried fruits, these sticky-topped tasty buns are delicious as a snack or for breakfast as a treat.
They are wonderful when served warm or toasted with butter, with homemade lemon curd or even cream cheese frosting. You could try them with any type of cheese—I have heard that they are great with a sharp cheddar.
This recipe is perfect for making hot cross buns (with a piped cross), or even to make a fruit bread loaf.
If you've missed your yearly hot cross bun fix, or are in a country that refuses to admit they exist (like me in Germany), you can make your own.
Add chocolate chips to the dough, or break up chocolate Easter eggs onto sliced hot buns for an even sweeter treat that kids love.
An easier and faster recipe variation:
- Use plain milk instead of the fragrant spice infused milk.
- Use 1 tsp of mixed spice.
- Raise the dough in the refrigerator overnight and warm to room temperature before splitting into buns.
- Omit the sticky sugar glaze at the end.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
4 hours 30 min
Summary of Instructions
- Infuse the milk with spices, orange zest and a little butter, then cool to lukewarm.
- Mix all ingredients together to form the dough.
- Knead the dough until elastic.
- Cover and prove, until doubled in size.
- Form 16 buns, place next to each other on a baking sheet.
- Cover and prove again, until doubled in size. Lightly cut and pipe on crosses at this stage.
- Bake in a hot oven for 20-30 minutes, then glaze.
- 200ml milk
- 50g butter
- zest of one orange, broken into pieces
- 1 star anise
- 3 cardamon pods, bruised
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
- 2 cloves
- pinch saffron
- 2cm vanilla bean pod, split in half
- 460g bread flour
- 1 packet (8g) dried yeast
- 140g mixed dried fruit
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 Tbsp caster sugar
- 1 Tbsp boiling water
You can use any spices you want, both to infuse the milk with flavor, and to add to the flour mixture before making the dough.
If you don't like a particular spice, just skip that ingredient!
1. Heat 220ml milk, with 20g butter, orange zest, star anise, cardamon pods, cinnamon stick, cloves, saffron and the split vanilla bean pod in a saucepan over a low heat.
After the butter melts, take off the heat, and set aside.
Infuse for 1-2 hours, then strain the milk through a fine sieve.
Set 20ml of the infused milk aside for the egg-wash before baking.
2. Sift the bread flour into a large bowl, and rub the remaining butter into the flour.
Alternatively use a food processor to cut the butter into the flour.
3. Add the dried yeast, salt and ground spices to the flour mixture, and mix briefly with a balloon whisk.
Stir the dried fruit through the flour mixture.
4. Beat two of the eggs together.
5. Make a well in the flour mixture, and pour in the beaten eggs. Add the infused milk gradually, stirring together until a smooth, moist dough is formed—it should not be dry. If your dough is dry, add a little more warm milk. If it is too wet, add a little more bread flour.
6. Knead the dough by hand, in a stand mixer with a bread hook, or in a bread machine for about 10 minutes, until the dough is silky and elastic.
7. Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover with a damp towel. Set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, usually in 1-2 hours.
8. Tip onto a lightly floured surface, and knead for 2-3 minutes.
Hot Cross Buns Extra Steps
9a. Cut a deep cross into the top of the buns before rising.
9b. After the buns have risen, make a mixture for the white cross: mix 3 Tbsp flour, a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, and enough water together to make a thick paste.
Pipe or spoon the paste into the cut cross on the top of the buns just before glazing with the egg wash, then bake as usual.
9. Cut into 16 pieces, and roll to form the bun. Place these on a lined baking tray so they are close together, but not touching. They will join together as they rise.
10. Cover the buns with a damp tea towel, and set aside to rise in a warm place, until again doubled in size, about 50 minutes.
11. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).
Make an egg wash by beating the remaining egg with the left-over 20ml of infused milk. Brush this over the buns with a pastry brush.
12. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden.
13. Make the sugar glaze by mixing the caster sugar with boiling water. After removing the tray from the oven, brush the sugar glaze over the hot buns with a pastry brush.
Serve hot and fresh, with your favorite toppings.
After they have cooled, you can warm the buns in a low oven, or cut and toast.
How do you like your buns?
- Low fat: skip the butter and use low- or no-fat milk. Definitely don't eat lathered with butter, cheese or chocolate!
- Low-sugar: skip the small amount of sugar in the buns, and the glaze after baking. Note that there is sugar in dried fruit.
- Gluten-free: use gluten-free bread flour.
- Fresh yeast: add 20g of fresh yeast and a tsp of caster sugar to the strained, lukewarm milk. Don't add dried yeast to the flour mixture.
- Dried fruit variations: use your favorite dried fruits, chopped to around the size of sultanas (or smaller if using glace ginger). Any dried fruits and candied citrus peels work wonderfully.
- Choc-chip buns: add dark, milk or white chocolate chips to the dough before kneading.
- Choc-chip hot cross buns: in addition to the chocolate chips in the dough, add 1 Tbsp cocoa to the piping mix for the cross on the top of the buns.
Left-Over Fruit Buns
In the rare event that you have left-over fruit buns or hot cross buns, they do freeze well. You can also use them in other delicious dessert recipes, better than throwing out slightly stale but still good buns!
- Bread and butter pudding: use a good quality berry jam and sprinkle some walnuts between the layers, add the egg custard and bake. Serve with cream and/or ice cream. Marmalade and kumquat compote work just as well as berry jams.
- French toast topped with whipped cream or ice cream and cinnamon sugar. Even more heavenly—smash a chocolate bunny (or a few chocolate chips) between the bun slices before squishing them together, soaking in the milk mixture, and cooking.
What dried fruit do you like best in your fruit buns?
Do you eat fruit buns only at Easter, or all year around?
Let us know in the comments below!
Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on January 20, 2014:
Yum!! These look amazingly delicious! I'm thrilled that now I can make some for myself! My husband will be commenting later with his thanks. lol
Dreamer at heart from Northern California on January 20, 2014:
Left over buns? Aw, no way! I can imagine how tasty these are right out of the oven.
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on January 20, 2014:
They look and sound delicious! I can practically smell them from your terrific photos!
Dianna Mendez on May 27, 2013:
Oh my this really looks awesome and I know I would enjoy this recipe. Anything with citrus is a winner with me. Great post and well done!