Traditionally eaten at Easter in Anglo-Saxon countries, hot cross buns are small buns with dried fruits and spices that can now be found throughout the year in Britain. There are also variations of the recipe with chocolate chips or nuts. These buns are decorated with a white cross and served hot, toasted and spread with butter.
50g (3 1/2 tablespoons) butter
500g (2 1/2 cups) flour plus 75g (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) for the crosses
75g (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) sugar
1 packet dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons apricot jam
Bring the milk to the boil, remove from the heat and add the butter. Let cool to room temperature.
Mix the dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar, yeast) in a bowl, then pour in the milk-butter mixture. Beat the egg and add in, mixing well with a wooden spoon to form a dough.
Knead the dough with clean hands, then let it rise in a warm place covered with a clean, damp kitchen towel for about an hour.
Add the raisins and knead again. Leave to rise for another hour.
Divide the dough into 16 equal portions on a floured work surface and use your hands to form them into small balls.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the balls on top, leaving space for the dough to rise. Cover and let rise for another hour.
To make the crosses, gradually mix the remaining flour with water until you get a firm dough. Use a pastry bag and a fine nozzle to mark crosses on the balls. Bake in a preheated oven at 220°C (Gas Mark 7) / 425°F for 20 minutes.
During this time, liquefy the apricot jam over a low heat, then pass through a sieve. Spread the hot jam on the finished buns as a glaze.
Cut the buns in half and toast, then spread with butter and serve piping hot.