Kymberly loves to cook, bake, and preserve. She enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and coming up with delicious (healthy) recipes!
Homemade Is Better!
Sweet, fragrant, and 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 with 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 making 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 fragrant spice-infused milk.
- Use 1 teaspoon of mixed spice.
- Raise the dough in the refrigerator overnight and warm it to room temperature before splitting it 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 and place them 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 to 30 minutes, then glaze.
- 200 milliliters milk
- 50 grams 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
- 2 centimeters vanilla bean pod, split in half
- 460 grams bread flour
- 1 packet (8 grams) dried yeast
- 140 grams mixed dried fruit
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon 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 220 milliliters of milk with 20 grams of butter, orange zest, star anise, cardamon pods, cinnamon stick, cloves, saffron, and the split vanilla bean pod in a saucepan over low heat.
After the butter melts, take off the heat, and set aside.
Infuse for 1 to 2 hours, then strain the milk through a fine sieve.
Set 20 milliliters 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 it with a damp towel. Set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, usually in 1 to 2 hours.
8. Tip onto a lightly floured surface, and knead for 2 to 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 tablespoons of 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 them aside to rise in a warm place, until again doubled in size, for about 50 minutes.
11. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
Make an egg wash by beating the remaining egg with the leftover 20 milliliters of infused milk. Brush this over the buns with a pastry brush.
12. Bake for 20 to 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.
- Low fat: skip the butter and use low- or no-fat milk. Definitely don't eat slathered 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 20 grams 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 tablespoon of 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 round?
Let us know in the comments below!