How to Make Delicious Hot Cross Buns This Easter

20 March 2018

Make these traditional spiced, sticky glazed fruit buns with James Morton's easy recipe. Served as a classic Easter treat, the buns can also be enjoyed at any time of year.

Have a great-tasting Easter with James's twist on this classic Easter recipe. It's just one of the many wonderful recipes from James's book Brilliant Bread, now available from our online shop.

Makes 12 hot cross buns

350g strong white flour

100g wholemeal flour (sieved weight)

2 x 7g sachets of fast-action yeast

10g salt

100g mixed peel

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Half teaspoon ground cloves

Half teaspoon ground allspice

Half teaspoon ground ginger

Half a nutmeg, finely grated

100g white sourdough starter (if you don't have this and are based in Shetland, contact us and we may be able to help. Alternatively if you would like to make one yourself, find out more here)

2 medium eggs

170g full-fat milk

40g honey

30g apple brandy

50g butter, softened

200g raisins

For the glaze

50g caster sugar

50g water

Half teaspoon cinnamon

For the icing

125g icing sugar

Few squeezes of lemon juice


In a large bowl, combine the flours, yeast, salt and spices. Rub the salt and spices into the dry mix on one side of the bowl, then the yeast on the other. Add the starter, eggs, milk, honey, brandy and butter and combine to form a dough. Cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes, if you can.

Knead your dough for about 5 minutes, then add your raisins and continue to knead the dough for another 5 minutes, until it is holding together and and passing the windowpane test. (Simply pinch off a small piece of your kneaded mix and leave it to rest on your fingers for a few seconds. Then gently stretch it out using your other hand into as flat and wide a piece of dough you can. If it easily tears, it's not done. If you can stretch it into a flat sheet that lets light shine through when it's held up to the light, you've got well-kneaded dough.) Cover and leave to prove for 1-2 hours, or until at least doubled in size. Alternatively, leave to rest in the fridge for 10-14 hours.

Turn your dough out onto a lightly floured surface and separate into 12 roughly equal pieces. Roll each into a ball, place on your baking tray and leave to prove for a final 90 mins or so at room temperature. At least half an hour before you're doing to bake, preheat your oven to 240C, gas mark 9.

Once proved, turn your oven down to 210C, gas 6.5 and bake for 20-25 mins, until a dark golden brown all over.

As soon as they are in the oven, prepare the glaze by boiling all the ingredients together briefly, then leaving to cool slightly until the buns are done. Then, prepare the icing by mixing just enough lemon juice with the icing sugar so that the mixture drizzles freely.

As soon as the buns are out of the oven, smear them in warm glaze, until they are all sticky and shiny. Then, whilst still hot, use the edge of a teaspoon to draw the iced crosses on top.

Buy James's book, Brilliant Bread, from our online shop.

(The images here are for illustration purposes only - James's looked so much better!)


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