For a nostalgic pull this Easter weekend, make your very own hot cross buns at home. Whether it’s baking them the traditional way or giving them a modern-day twist, we’ve got you covered with some great recipes.
What are hot cross buns and why are they eaten on Easter?
Maybe your family had a different tradition on Easter and hot cross buns weren’t a thing in your house. It might be time to change things up because these delicious treats are a must-have.
A hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun made with either currants or raisins, frosted on top in the shape of a cross and traditionally eaten on Good Friday to mark the end of Lent, the period when the consumption of animal products is forbidden.
The cross on top of the bun signifies the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the spices used to make the hot cross bun signify the spices used to prepare Jesus’ body for burial.
Making hot cross buns the traditional way
If you’re making hot cross buns for the first time, maybe you want to go with a traditional recipe and have a familiar taste on the menu to bring back those fond childhood memories. Maggie Beer, the famous Aussie chef known for her farm shop and restaurant in Barossa Valley, has a great recipe for you so that you can easily ditch the store-bought stuff.
Here’s a list of ingredient you’ll need:
For the dough:
- 4 1/2 cups plain flour
- 2 x 7g dried yeast
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cup currants
- 40g butter
- 300 ml milk
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 4 tbsp water
For the glaze:
- 1/3 cup water
- 4 tbsp Maggie’s orchard apricot jam or a suitable substitute)
In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, sugar, mixed spice, salt and currants. Take a small pan and melt butter over medium heat and add the milk. Keep it on heat for a minute or until the mix is lukewarm. Now add the warm milk mixture to the bowl which has all your dry ingredients.
Combine your dough with a flat-bladed knife until it almost comes together. Clean and pat your hands dry to finish mixing to a soft dough. Then, spread flour on a flat surface and knead the dough on it for about 10 minutes or until it’s smooth.
Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl and cover it with clingfilm. Set it aside in a warm place and let it rise for the next one to one-and-a-half hours or until the dough is double its size.
Once the dough is ready, punch it down on a floured surface for about 30 seconds until smooth. Then divide it into 12 equal portions and place the pieces (1cm apart) on a large baking tray laced with baking paper. Lightly oil a piece of clingfilm and cover the tray, setting it aside in a warm spot for 30 minutes or until the buns double in size.
Next, pre-heat your fan oven to 170C before making your flour paste. Add in 4 table spoons of water to a 1/2 cup of plain flour until the mixture is smooth. Add in a bit more water if it’s too thick. Put the paste in a piping bag and pipe it over the buns to form crosses. Place the tray in your pre-heated oven for 20 to 25 minutes (or until the buns are cooked to perfection).
While you wait for the buns to cook, it’s time to make the glaze. Place water and jam in a saucepan and stir until the jam fully dissolves. Bring to boil and then remove from heat after three to four minutes. Once the buns come out of the oven, brush over the glaze and either serve them warm or at room temperature.
Hot cross bun and butter skillet pudding
Now you know exactly how to make a traditional hot cross bun but why not take it up a notch this Easter with something different. This hot cross bun and butter skillet pudding recipe by Delicious is so dreamy it’ll be a shame not to make it.
You’ll need just a few more ingredients after making the traditional hot cross buns to get this version on to your dinner table.
- 6 egg yolks
- 180g caster sugar
- 600 ml pure (thin) cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
- 5 hot cross buns
- 25g unsalted butter, softened
Find comfort in apple and cinnamon hot cross buns
Apple and cinnamon are classic flavours that scream comfort, especially as mid-Autumn temperatures bring in some chilly evenings. Add in a few more ingredients to your hot cross bun recipe to really pack in as much flavour as possible. We’ve given the list of ingredients below but for the full cooking method, head on to Gourmet Traveller .
- 325g raw caster sugar
- 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored, diced
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 750g (5 cups) plain flour
- 150g sultanas or golden raisins
- 50g dried apple, diced
- 30g candied orange, diced
- 14g (2 sachets) dried yeast
- 3 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- Finely grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon
- 380 ml milk
- 100g butter, coarsely chopped
- 1 egg
Hot cross bun ring with spiced honey butter
Regardless of what type of bread you’re eating, it all tastes even better with a dollop of butter. This recipe by BBC Good Food will not only taste amazing, it’ll also make for a very good centre-piece for your Easter feast spread. Visit their website for the full recipe but if you’re already feeling inspired and ready to hit the grocery store, here are a list of things you’ll need to buy.
- 300 ml whole milk
- zest of 1 orange
- 500g strong white flour, plus 140g for the crosses, and extra for dusting
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 85g golden caster sugar
- 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 1 large egg beaten, plus 1 egg to glaze
- oil, for greasing
- 100g dried mixed fruit
For the spiced honey butter:
- 200g salted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 4 tbsp clear honey
Hot cross bun french toast with apple compote
If names are anything to go by, hot cross bun french toast with apple compote by Home&Food Entertaining is a sure-shot winner. Seriously, your lazy Easter weekend brunch for one, maybe two, will be incomplete without this on your plate. It’s easy and quick to make — you’ll need about half an hour or so max. It’s a great way of ditching the traditional hot cross bun recipe for something that’s a lot quicker to whip up. You’ll just need to buy the store’s ones and make them taste even better.
For apple compote:
- 50g butter
- 4 Granny Smith apples, cored and diced
- 125g dark brown sugar
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) apple juice
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
For French toast
- 6 extra-large eggs
- 100 ml milk
- 6 hot cross buns sliced in half
- butter, for frying
This article has been updated since its original publication.