Cardamom and Golden Sultana Hot Cross Buns
Portion/Yield:Makes 12 large buns
Oh, it’s that time of the year again to enjoy hot cross buns. The smell of them baking in the oven provokes fond childhood memories for me and they are a clear reminder of the season we are in. There is nothing more pleasing than a toasted hot cross bun served with a mug of hot coffee on a sunny spring morning, as you plan the ‘to do’ list for the day.
For this recipe, I use one-third standard plain flour and two-thirds strong bread flour. Most recipes call for all plain flour but I find the texture of the cooked buns too close to the texture of cakes.
If you believe in superstitions, then it’s said that if you share a hot cross bun with another person, this will ensure friendship for the year to come. Well, I hope it’s true, and for that reason, I could not keep this delicious recipe to myself and want to share it with you! Happy Easter!
Ingredients & Method
For the bun dough
- 375ml milk
- 4 green cardamom pods, crushed
- 240g golden sultanas (or use regular sultanas, if you wish)
- 15g fresh yeast
- 440g strong white bread flour
- 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 100g caster sugar
- a pinch of table salt
- 2 teaspoons ground mixed spice
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 50g unsalted butter, melted
- 1 egg
For the cross paste
- 75g plain flour
- 80ml cold water
For the glaze and decoration
- 100g clear honey
- 100ml cold water
- 3 green cardamom pods, crushed
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tablespoon chopped pistachio nuts (optional)
Make the bun dough. Put the milk and crushed cardamom pods into a small saucepan and bring just to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Pass the milk through a fine sieve, then return the milk to the saucepan, add the sultanas and leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Stir in the yeast until dissolved.
Put both flours, the sugar, salt, mixed spice and cinnamon into the bowl of an electric stand mixer with the dough hook attached. Turn the machine on to run at a low speed and add the melted butter and egg, then slowly add the infused milk mixture and mix to form a dough. Knead the dough on a low speed for 8 minutes.
Turn the dough on to a lightly floured work surface and shape it into a ball. Place the dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean dry tea towel or cling film and leave the dough to prove (rise) in a warm place for about 1 hour or until it is doubled in size.
Grease two 24.5 x 10 x 5.5cm tins (or grease 2 baking trays) and set aside. Once the dough has proved, turn it on to a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll each portion into a smooth ball. Place 6 dough balls into each prepared tin (even though photos show 8 in a tin) or on the prepared baking trays, leaving space between each one, then cover with clean dry tea towels and leave to prove in a warm place for 15–20 minutes or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6.
For the cross paste, mix the flour and water together in a bowl until smooth, then transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle (2–3mm diameter). Pipe thin lines to represent crosses on top of each bun.
Bake the buns in the oven for 18–22 minutes or until well risen and golden brown. Once baked, remove from the oven and leave the buns to cool completely in the tins (or on the baking trays).
While the buns are baking, make the glaze. Put the honey, water, crushed cardamom pods and lemon juice into a small saucepan, bring to the boil over a medium heat, then simmer for 1 minute. Pass the glaze through a fine sieve into a bowl and let the mixture cool.
Generously brush the glaze over the cooled buns and then sprinkle with the chopped pistachios to decorate, if you like. Remove the buns from the tins (or baking trays) and serve.
To make the bun dough by hand, warm, strain, then infuse the milk and sultanas, as directed. Stir in the yeast. Put the flours, sugar, salt, mixed spice and cinnamon into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, then pour in the melted butter and egg, followed by the warm milk, sultana and yeast mixture and mix with a palette knife to form a lumpy dough. Turn the dough on to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 7–8 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Continue as the recipe directs.