Perfect Home Made Hot Cross Buns

With Easter just around the corner, the shops are full of every flavor of hot cross bun you can imagine, but why not have a go at making this traditional seasonal bake yourself?

Packed with dried mixed fruit, flavored with warming mixed spice and with a sweet and sticky orange glaze they are the perfect Easter treat and easier to make than you may think.  For convenience I’ve used a packet of bread mix as the base, readily available from most large supermarkets.

Serve the buns warm from the oven, cold or lightly toasted  - whichever way make sure to add a generous spread of my tangy orange and nutmeg spiced butter.

Prep: 40 mins, plus proving time

Cook: 15-20 mins

Difficulty easy

Makes 12


      For the buns

  • 500g packet crusty white bread mix
  • 21/2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 150ml milk
  • 100ml water
  • 50g unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 120g mixed dried fruit

For the crosses

  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 ½ tbsp water

For the orange glaze

  • juice of 1 large orange
  • 25g golden caster sugar

    For the orange and nutmeg butter

  • 50g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg, ground in the Cole & Mason Nutmeg Grinding Mill


1. Tip the packet of bread mix into a large mixing bowl and stir in the mixed spice and caster sugar. Use a wooden spoon to make a well in the center.

2. Place the milk and water in a small pan and slowly bring to the boil over a medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat, add the diced butter and stir until melted. Leave for a few minutes until the liquid is hand hot.

3. Pour the liquid into the flour mixture with the beaten egg and mix to a soft, slightly sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes until smooth. Add a sprinkling of flour if the dough is sticky.

4. Place the dough in a clean, lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with oiled cling film. Leave in a warm place for 1-11/2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

5. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface again, knead lightly and pat out to a rectangle. Scatter over the orange zest and dried fruit then fold over the dough to enclose and knead for 2-3 minutes until the fruit is evenly mixed (See Tips).

6. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll and shape into balls and place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper (see Tips). Cover loosely with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until almost doubled in size.

7. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6. To make the crosses, mix the flour and water in a small bowl to a smooth paste. Spoon the paste into a paper piping bag, snip off then end and pipe crosses on the buns. Bake for 15-20 minutes until risen and golden brown.

8. To make the glaze, heat the orange juice and sugar in a small pan until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until syrupy then brush all over the hot buns.

9. To make the orange and nutmeg butter, beat all the ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.  Serve the hot cross buns, warm or cold spread with the butter.


* Don’t worry if some of the dried mixed fruit falls out of the dough when kneading, simply push back into the center of the buns as you shape them.

* Place the shaped buns evenly spaced on the baking tray with 1-2cm between then – as they prove and rise they should just touch each other.

* Although best eaten on the day of baking the buns will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days. They will become a little drier so it’s best to split and toast them or reheat in a moderate oven for a few minutes before serving. 


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