How to make hot cross buns
Hot cross buns
Prep time: 30 minutes + standing | Cook time: 30 minutes
2 tsp instant dried yeast
55g caster sugar
125ml warm skimmed milk
1 egg, lightly whisked
450g plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
50g reduced-fat oil spread
2 tbs reduced-sugar apricot jam, melted and strained
For flour paste:
35g plain flour
2 tsp caster sugar
Place yeast, sugar, milk and 80ml warm water in a bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until frothy. Add the egg and whisk to combine.
Sift the flour and mixed spice in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the spread into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Stir through the sultanas and currants. Make a well in the centre and pour the yeast mixture into the well. Stir the mixture until well combined.
Knead on a lightly floured surface for 5-7 minutes or until elastic. Place in a bowl and cover with a clean, dry tea towel. Set aside in a warm draught-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly spray an 18 x 28cm (base measurement) cake tin with oil. Use your fist to knock the dough back. Divide the dough into 12 portions.
Roll each portion into a ball. Arrange side by side in the prepared tin. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes or until the balls double in size.
To make the flour paste, combine flour and sugar in a small bowl. Add about 2 tablespoons water to make a smooth paste. Place in a snap-lock bag and snip off 1 corner.
Pipe crosses onto the buns. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven to 180°C and bake for a further 20 minutes or until golden and the buns sound hollow when lightly tapped.
Set the buns aside in the tin and allow to cool slightly. Brush the buns with the melted jam. Serve the buns warm or at room temperature.
Cranberry and orange hot cross buns
Add 2 tsp finely grated orange zest to flour mixture in step 2. Half the sultanas to 40g. Use 50g cranberries instead of currants. Use diet orange marmalade instead of apricot jam.
Apple, date and walnut hot cross buns
Add 1 tsp ground cinnamon to flour mixture in step 2. Replace sultanas and currants with half a green apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped, 60g finely chopped fresh dates and 30g chopped walnuts.
Choc chip and coffee hot cross buns
Add 1 tbs instant coffee granules to the yeast mixture in step 1. Use 60g dark choc chips instead of sultanas and currants. Add 2 tsp cacao powder to the flour paste.