• Prep Time -
  • Cook Time -
  • Serving For 8-12 people
  • Difficulty Hard

Recipe Description

Hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun that is traditionally eaten on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, mostly in English-speaking parts of the world. It marks the end of Lent and each part of the bun has a specific meaning. The cross symbolises the crucifixion of Christ, the spices represents the embalmment at his burial, and the plumped up dried fruits signify his resurrection on the third day.

The first time I had hot cross buns was a disappointment because it was dry, hard and bland. Over the years, I’ve had better ones but the most memorable hot cross bun I had was soft and moist and smothered in a sticky glaze that begs to be eaten.

For this recipe, I’ve soaked the dried fruits in orange juice for about 2 hours. After the fruits have plumped up, strain the liquid and save it for the glaze. Although most recipes call for bread flour or high-protein flour, I prefer to use all-purpose flour because it yields a softer bun. I just need to knead the dough longer to activate as much gluten as I can. But because I’m using a stand mixer to do the kneading, the extra time is not an issue. Just remember to keep the machine at the lower speeds so that you do not burn out the motor because activated gluten can present quite a bit of resistance.

Thereafter, the process of bread making is really about leaving it to nature and allow the yeast to do its work. Do check if your yeast is alive before you start by sprinkling some over a bowl of warm water. If they foam up in 5 minutes then it’s ready to go, otherwise throw it out and get some from outlets that you know have a constant renewal of stock. In order for the dough to rise, we need to keep the kitchen warm. As we form the balls of dough for the buns, they will continue to expand. The best way to make sure that the buns remain a consistent size is to weigh each one because we cannot judge the size by eyeballing them.

A lot of recipes call for a paste of flour and water for making the cross. The traditional method which I opted for, is to use shortcrust pastry. If you prefer the flour paste, then just substitute with equal amounts of flour and water.

Recipe Ingredient

  • Ingredients
  • 30g sultanas
  • 30g raisins
  • 30g dried cranberries
  • 30g dried cherries
  • 250ml orange juice
  • Yeast Dough
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 15g dried yeast
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 450g all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 60g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 30g mixed peel
  • 30g candied ginger
  • Shortcrust Pastry
  • 50g all-purpose flour
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 12ml water
  • Orange Glaze
  • soaking juice
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar


  1. Soak dried fruits in orange juice for at least 2 hours. Strain and set aside both fruit and juice.
  2. Heat the milk in a small pan over a low heat for a few minutes, until slightly warm – you should be able to dip your finger in without scalding it. Transfer the warmed milk to a bowl and stir in the yeast.
  3. Melt the butter in a separate pan over a low heat for a few minutes, then set aside.
  4. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, then add sugar, salt and spices.
  5. Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter, followed by the yeast mixture and beaten egg.
  6. Stir in a stand mixer with a bread hook at low speed for a few minutes, then knead at medium speed for about 10 minutes until soft and springy.
  7. Place the dough in a flour-dusted bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to proof in a warm place for at least an hour until doubled in size.
  8. Knock the air out with your fist and transfer the dough to a floured work surface.
  9. Roll the dough flat then sprinkle with dried fruit, mixed peel and candied ginger and roll into a log.
  10. Divide the dough into 20 equal pieces of about 50-55 grams and roll each into a ball, evenly spacing them out on the tray.
  11. Make shortcrust pastry dough with all-purpose flour, butter and water. Cut pastry into narrow strips and trace a cross with the pastry dough over the top of the buns.
  12. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for a further 30 minutes until doubled in size.
  13. Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Bake the buns in the preheated oven for 20 minutes until golden brown.
  14. Bring fruit-soaked orange juice and sugar to a boil then simmer at low heat to reduced by half. Set aside orange glaze to cool.
  15. Brush buns with fruity orange glaze. Served warm, these sticky buns can be eaten without butter.

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