Classically, Hot Cross Buns are a symbol of christianity
and traditional Good Friday fare…the icing cross as iconic. Folklore suggests that Hot Cross buns originated as buns marked with a cross by the ancient Saxons honoring the goddess Eostre–and thusly whether the origin of “Easter”. Also that the cross is thought to have symbolized the four quarters of the moon and spring equinox.
Old English tradition revered Hot Cross Buns as a superstition–promising friendship, goodwill and good health.
Traditional Hot Cross Buns are a sweet and spiced dough, sprinkled with raisins
or currants–though have also evolved into holiday fruitcake genre, studded with chopped fruits + chocolate versions.
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Enjoy Easter Holiday classics.
Hot Cross Buns
two 1/4-ounce packages (5 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup dried currants
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange zest
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
3 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar
In a small bowl stir together milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Let mixture stand 5 minutes, or until foamy.
Into a large bowl sift together flour, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Cut butter into bits and with your fingertips or a pastry blender blend into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. Lightly beat 1 whole egg with egg yolk. Make a well in center of flour mixture and pour in yeast and egg mixtures, currants, raisins, and zests. Stir mixture until a dough is formed. Transfer dough to a floured surface and with floured hands knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Transfer dough to an oiled large bowl and turn to coat. Let dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
On a floured surface with floured hands knead dough briefly and form into two 12-inch-long logs. Cut each log crosswise into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and arrange about 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. Let buns rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
While buns are rising, lightly beat remaining egg with superfine sugar to make an egg glaze. On a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin roll out pastry dough into a 20- by 6-inch rectangle (about 1/8 inch thick). With a sharp knife cut rectangle crosswise into 1/8-inch- wide strips.
Brush buns with egg glaze and arrange 2 pastry strips over center of each bun to form a cross. Trim ends of pastry strips flush with bottoms of buns. Bake buns in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, about 12 minutes. Transfer buns to a rack to cool slightly.
NOTE: Buns may be made 1 week ahead and frozen, wrapped in foil and put in a sealable plastic bag. Thaw buns and reheat before serving. Serve buns warm or at room temperature.
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