Although chocolate treats and sweet confections often steal the spotlight once Easter long weekend rolls around, one delicious Easter tradition that dates back to before the era of egg hunts and Easter bunnies is the iconic hot cross bun.
Since there are innumerable variations of the annual tradition, Naramata Inn pastry chef Liz Stevenson has created a versatile recipe that allows for a variety of traditional variations to be incorporated.
“Who doesn’t love a hot cross bun? Definitely not a purist myself, I much prefer a cross made of icing. In fact, it wasn’t until I moved to the UK in my twenties that I discovered the crosses were actually made of flour paste,” explains chef Stevenson. “So, true to my maritime roots, I’ve included an icing recipe below. You can also modify this recipe to your heart’s content—currants in place of raisins, candied ginger, adjust the spices, add mixed peel or freshly grated zest, etc. It’s up to you! Happy Easter, and happy baking friends.”
Hot cross buns
Pre-heat your oven to 360F (convection: 350F). Grease 2 x 9x5” shallow loaf tins or one 9x9” brownie tin
Soak the raisins in very hot water and set aside for 30 mins. After 30 minutes, strain thoroughly.
Scale all of the dry ingredients (including the yeast) together and place in a bowl of a table top mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix to combine. You can also mix by hand if you don’t have a mixer.
Rub in the softened butter until you achieve a breadcrumb consistency.
Warm the milk ever so slightly (should be room temp or just warm) and add to the mix, followed by the eggs, then the raisins.
At this point, if using a stand mixer, switch to a dough hook. If mixing by hand, turn out onto a bench lightly dusted with flour and knead until very smooth and elasticated.
Place the dough in a covered bowl and leave it in a warm place to rise until doubled in size.
Glazing syrup and icing
While you’re waiting for the dough to rise, make the glazing syrup. Place the sugar and water in a pan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat (do not stir) and set aside.
Next, make the icing. Mix the sugar, water and vanilla together to make a thick paste. Place in a piping bag fitted with your preferred nozzle, or leave aside to drizzle on top of the buns with a spoon.
Once the dough has double in size (approx. 2-3 hours), divide into 80-85gm portions and roll into tight balls. Place these in your greased tins and into the oven. For extra moist & fluffy buns, place a shallow pan with water in the bottom of the oven.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until dark golden brown on top. Turn out of the pan and onto a cooling rack. Brush the tops with the glazing syrup while they’re still warm.
Once cooled, drizzle or pipe on your crosses. You may now eat!
- Makes 12