Hot Cross Buns | Sunday Observer

Hot Cross Buns

28 March, 2021

Hot cross buns are an English pastry associated with Good Friday. It is said that hot cross buns were eaten as far back as 1733. Some hot cross buns are like bread rolls, while others are more like muffins or even cupcakes in texture and taste. The two common features all hot cross buns have are the candied fruit filling inside, and a plus sign (+) of white powdered-sugar frosting on top. Many are flavoured with cinnamon.

The plus sign symbolises the cross upon which Christ was supposedly crucified at noon on Good Friday.rendered for the square format of the bun, as seen from above.

According to The Oxford Companion to Food, the icing cross is the successor to a cross that used to be cut in all bread dough in medieval times “to let the devil fly out.” Sometimes, a pastry cross was used rather than one made out of frosting.

“Hot cross buns” was the subject of a street cry.This gave rise to a children’s rhyme, which was first anthologised in 1798 and is still popular among children in many parts of the world.



1/2 cup raisins, currants, or raisins + 1 cup boiling hot water
3/4 cup very warm milk, divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup (I used whole milk, 2% is fine)
1/2 cup white sugar + 1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened 15 seconds in microwave
1/2 tsp salt
1 envelope active dry yeast (about 3/4 Tbsp or 2 1/4 tsp) 
2 large eggs, well beaten
3 1/2 cups non-sifted all-purpose flour *measured correctly
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp (a large pinch) ground nutmeg

How to make Hot Cross Buns

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup raisins/raisins with one cup boiling hot water. Let sit 10 min then drain well and set aside.

In a large measuring cup, combine 1/4 cup warm milk with 1/2 tsp sugar and sprinkle 3/4 Tbsp yeast over the top. Stir and let sit at room temp until bubbly and doubled in volume (10 min).

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup very warm milk with 1/2 cup sugar, 4 Tbsp softened butter and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir until butter is melted. Add 2 well beaten eggs and proofed yeast mixture. Stir in 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon and pinch of ground nutmeg.

Using the dough hook attachment mix in 3 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup at a time until soft dough forms. Knead 8-12 min on speed 2 or until smooth and elastic. Dough will still stick a little to the bowl but not to your fingers.

If kneading by hand, use a wooden spoon to stir, then turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead 8-12 min using just enough flour to prevent sticking to your hands.

Add drained raisins/raisins (pat them dry with paper towels if they still seem too wet) and transfer dough to a large buttered bowl, turning it to bring the buttered side-up. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free room 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in volume (you can also proof in a warm 100˚F oven).

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut in half then continue cutting dough until you have 12 equal sized pieces. Roll dough into balls and transfer to a buttered 9×13″ baking pan. Cover with a tea towel and let them sit in a warm, draft-free room 30 min until puffed

 Now you should preheat your oven to 375˚F. Generously brush the tops with egg wash and bake for 15-17 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan.

 Once buns are just warm (not hot), stir together the 1/2 cup powdered sugar and about 2 1/2 tsp milk. You can add more powdered sugar to thicken it up if needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.