• Aimee.Dillon

Life Changing Hot Cross Buns

Wake up to the smell of warm hot cross buns on the Easter long weekend. Comforting, traditional and so delicious – I love that combination of warm spices and sweet sultanas, and I especially love the nostalgic spiced fruit smell while they’re toasting.

I have had a few goes at different Hot Cross Bun recipes but I have to say this one by Mary Berry is by far the best and is completely foolproof!

For this recipe you will need a piping bag fitted witha fine 3mm nozzle, but if you don't have a nozzle you could use a piping bag and snip the end off.


500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting

75gcaster sugar

2 tsp mixed spice powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 lemon, finely grated zest only

10g salt

10g fast-action dried yeast

40g butter

300ml milk

1 free-range egg, beaten

200g sultanas

50g finely chopped mixed candied peel

oil, for greasing

For the topping

75g plain flour

2 tbsp golden syrup, for glazing


Put the flour, sugar, spices and lemon zest into a large bowl and mix together. Then add the salt and yeast, placing them on opposite sides of the bowl.

Melt the butter in a pan and warm the milk in a separate pan. Add the butter and half the tepid milk to the dry ingredients. Add the egg and use your hands to bring the mixture together, incorporating the flour from the edges of the bowl as you go.

Gradually add the remaining milk, to form a soft pliable dough (you may not need all of the milk).

Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand incorporating the sultanas and mixed peel into the dough. Lightly knead for 10 minutes until silky and elastic and forming a smooth ball. The kneading can also be done in a food mixer with a dough hook.

Oil a bowl and place the dough in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rest in a warm place for about 1½ hours or until doubled in size.

Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and divide into 12 balls. Line 1-2 baking trays with paper and place the balls on the tray, placing them fairly close together and flattening them slightly.

Slip each baking tray into a large clean polythene bag, making sure the bag doesn’t touch the buns. Leave for 40-60 minutes until the buns have doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.

For the topping, add the flour to a bowl with 100ml water. Mix together to make a paste and spoon into the icing bag.

When the buns have risen remove the polythene bags and pipe a cross on each bun. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pale golden-brown, turning the baking trays round halfway through if necessary.

Melt the golden syrup in a pan and while the buns are still warm, brush the buns with a little syrup to give a nice shine, before setting aside to cool on a wire rack.

These are great to freeze to enjoy later in winter with a cup of tea round a warm fire with company.

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