Hot Cross Buns

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Prep:

These small yeast buns, freckled with currants or raisins, and sometimes fruit and nuts, are traditionally served on Good Friday. They are slashed with a cross just before baking and the cross is filled with icing after they've cooled. I usually make them and freeze them unfrosted, ahead of time. Then on Easter morning I warm them in the oven and frost them for breakfast or brunch.

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Ingredients [?]

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  • add   1/2 teaspoon salt
  • add   1/4 cup sugar
  • add   3/4 cup milk
  • add   3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • add   2 tablespoons chopped mixed candied fruit
  • add   1 cup confectioners' sugar (icing sugar)
  • add   1/2 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest
  • add   1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • add   1 large egg
  • add   1/2 cup raisins or currants
  • add   1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds
  • add   2 large eggs
  • add   2-3 tablespoons cream or milk
  • add   2 packages active dry yeast (5 1/2 teaspoons)
  • add   1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • add   1 tablespoon milk

Instructions

  1. Measure the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and lemon zest into a large mixing bowl or into the work bowl of a food processor.
  2. Heat milk to boiling in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. Remove from heat and add the butter.
  4. Stir until the butter is melted.
  5. Stir in the eggs.
  6. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, and process or mix with an electric mixer until the dough is smooth but soft, about 2 minutes.
  7. Mix in the raisins, almonds, and candied fruits.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.
  9. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  10. Turn the dough out onto an oiled surface.
  11. Dust the dough with flour and knead to express air bubbles.
  12. Divide the dough into 16 equal parts.
  13. Shape each into a round ball.
  14. Place the balls of dough, smooth side up, about 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  15. Let rise in a warm place, lightly covered, until almost doubled, for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  16. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  17. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg glaze.
  18. Slash a cross in the center of each bun with a sharp knife.
  19. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden.
  20. While the buns bake, mix the icing ingredients in a small bowl.
  21. Place the icing into a pastry bag with a small tip.
  22. Slide the parchment onto the counter top to cool or transfer the rolls onto a wire rack to cool.
  23. Pipe the icing into the shape of a cross on top of each bun.
  24. Serve warm.
  25. Makes 16 buns.
  26. Beatrice Ojakangas.
  27. The Great Holiday Baking Book.