This is one of my favorite bread recipes. I try to make these rolls every year for Easter and sometimes Christmas. They go perfectly with a traditional ham dinner - and the leftovers are always fought over for breakfast the next morning. You won't be disappointed! They are a bit of work, however, so give yourself some time.
Hot Cross Buns (Makes about 2 dozen)
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for bowl, pan, and knife
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 1/2 teaspoons (2 packages) active dry yeast
- 2 tsp. salt
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Zest of 1 orange
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 5 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 1/3 cups craisins
- Bun Crossing Paste
- 1/2 cup apricot jam
1. Generously butter a large bowl; set aside. Place 1 cup milk in a small saucepan, over medium heat. Heat until milk reaches 110 degrees on a candy thermometer. Pour milk into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. With machine on low speed, add granulated sugar, yeast, salt, butter, lemon zest, orange zest, and eggs. Add flour, and mix on low speed until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms around dough hook. Continue kneading, scraping down hook and sides of bowl as necessary, until smooth, about 4 minutes more.
2. Add craisins; knead, with dough hook, to incorporate. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead briefly to evenly distribute currants in dough. Shape into a ball. Place dough in prepared bowl. Turn to coat with butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Turn dough out onto work surface. Knead briefly and roll dough into a log. Cut log in half and cut each half into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a tightly formed ball. Place on prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart. Cover baking sheets with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until buns are touching and doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place bun crossing paste in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip or a paper cornet with a 1/8-inch opening. Pipe crosses over the surface of each bun. Transfer buns to oven and bake until golden brown, 18 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
5. Meanwhile, place apricot jam in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until heated through; strain through a mesh sieve set over a bowl. Brush heated jam over buns.
Bun Crossing Paste (Makes enough for 2 dozen buns)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup flour (scant)
- Pinch of salt
- In a medium bowl, whisk together oil and 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water. Add flour and salt, and whisk until well combined. Let stand 1 hour before using.