This is based on the River Cottage Handbook No. 3 Bread recipe for hot cross buns. A gorgeous book full of workable recipes – much better in my opinion than the ‘celebrity’ bread books that are out at the moment, even though this one’s not that old either. If you want a good bread book, this would be a smart purchase.
The recipe is lovely, although for me it doesn’t have enough spice/cinnamon. The original calls for just 1 teaspoon of mixed spice – I’ve doubled the flavouring here by also adding 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
Makes 12 bunnies.
- Stand mixer and/or large bowl
- Baking sheet
- Pastry brush
- Piping bag
- Two small bowls
Ingredients – buns
- Strong white flour – 250g
- Plain white flour – 250g
- Tepid water – 125ml
- Tepid milk – 125ml
- Powdered yeast – 5g
- Salt – 10g
- Caster sugar (I used golden) – 50g
- Egg, medium free range – 1
- Sultanas (or raisins or currants or a mix – or you can substitute diced glace cherries or even choc chips) – 100g
- Orange zest – zest of 1/2 orange
- Mixed spice – 1 tsp
- Cinnamon – 1 tsp
- A few spare sultanas (or other fruit or choc chips) for eyes
Ingredients – crosses
- Plain flour – about 2 tablespoons
- Enough water to make a paste with the flour
Ingredients – glaze
- Marmalade or apricot jam – about 1 tablespoon
- Water – about 1 tablespoon
- Mix all the ingredients together and either mix by hand (this will be messy – it’s like making a brioche! Stick with it though and don’t add more flour – it will come together eventually) or with a dough hook in a machine (much easier).
- Mix for about 10 minutes until the dough goes silky smooth.
- Cover and leave to rise until doubled in size.
- Cut into twelve equal parts and shape each into a pear shape (the pointier end will be the nose).
- Space them apart – you don’t really want batch buns (ie where they touch), although if you’re clever you can face two bunnies away from each other and just have their bottoms touching – I found this looked a bit like fluffy tails when the pulled apart. You don’t want the faces touching).
- Cover and leave to rise again – about half an hour should do it.
- Put the oven on to 200C.
- Make up the cross paste by thoroughly mixing the flour in with enough water (add little by little) to form a thick paste (about the thickness of cream cheese.
- Pop the paste into a piping bag, ready for use.
- Once risen again to about double the size you can shape the ears:
- Using a pair of scissors cut two snips towards the pointy end of each bun. You’re aiming to make a long ‘V’ on either side of the head to act as ears.
Make ears by snipping the
dough with scissors
- Pipe the crosses onto each bun.
- Put into the oven and bake for 18 – 20 minutes until dark golden.
- Leave to cool a bit then mix up the glaze by heating the jam or marmalade and mixing with the water (quick and easy in a microwave but can be in a saucepan over a hob). If you have jam or marmalade with shred or bits, then it’s best to strain it.
- Using a pastry brush paint the glaze all over.
- When the bunnies are cooled a little, use some of the leftover sultanas (or whatever you used) and a little of the jam or marmalade and stick a couple of eyes onto each bunny.