Friday, April 2, 2010

Hot Cross Bun Day

It's Good Friday, a Christian festival which in many parts of the world is celebrated by a national holiday, although, as it happens, not here in France.

Traditionally, Hot Cross Buns are made and eaten on Good Friday.  I'm not completely sure of the reasons, but think that, like Pancake Day, it's another food feast related to abstinence at Lent.  In this case, those foods which were forbidden during Lent, eggs, butter, milk etc, are once again used to make a delicious dish, in this case a tasty bun.

I determined to make my Hot Cross Buns this morning but things were working against me and it wasn't long before I realised I was running out of time.  Hot Cross Buns are delicious to eat, but take up a lot of time in preparation with bursts of activity interspersed with 20 or 30 minutes wait whilst the dough proves.

Admitting defeat, I turned to the internet for a simple recipe where I could throw everything in a pan and walk away...  and yes, the pan turned out to be my bread maker.  I use my bread maker a lot, but have only ever used it to make...well, bread!  But the recipe seemed easy and gave me the time I needed for other things.  I'll repeat the recipe here, but a big thanks to Bella Online for the original recipe.  I have changed just a couple of small things in that I glazed the buns with warmed honey and omitted the cross!

Well, omitted, is a polite way to say "forgot".  I made the buns, prepared the oven and popped them in before putting together a piping bag to add the cross.... it was only then that I remembered the cross has to go on the buns BEFORE they go in the oven.

The finished buns are not the most gorgeous buns I have ever made and they didn't rise very well.  However, I want to say that I have no doubt that the problems reflect the state of my attention in the kitchen today and are no reflection on the recipe from Bella Online.  They do, however, taste truly amazing.

IMG_0689  My own buns


From Bella Online


  • 1/4 cup water - at room temperature or slightly above
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • pinch of allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped, mixed candied fruit


  • 2 Tablespoons of honey, gently warmed
  • Although it's not what is recommended in the original recipe, I always use a mixture of flour and water to make the cross, and pipe it on just before putting the buns in the oven.


    Preparation -
    Place all the dough ingredients, except the raisins and fruit, in the bread machine pan. Set on the dough only cycle. Add the raisins and candied fruit at the bread machine's signal for adding extra ingredients. Remove the dough from the bread machine at end of dough cycle. Place it in a bowl, cover with a cloth and let it rest for 10 minutes.

    Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Shape the pieces into balls and place them 3 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in warm place until almost doubled, about 45 minutes to an hour. Bake in a preheated oven at 375º for 15 to 18 minutes, or until light brown on top. Remove from the oven. Place the baking sheet full of buns on a wire rack to cool. Prepare the glaze, then spread it over the warm buns. Let the buns continue to cool on the baking sheet.


    Oh, The top picture above is of my own attempt but the second picture is the "official" photo from Bella Online, which I thought looked better.

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