Apple and Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns

hot cross buns

I like big buns and I can not lie…

Hot cross buns just must be my favourite Easter treat. I absolutely love the spicy, fruity buns, toasted with plenty of butter. I make them almost every Easter, but I think this year’s efforts are the best yet, and needless to say, so much better than store-bought.

Traditionally, hot cross buns are eaten on Good Friday with the cross as a symbol of the Crucifixion, but some believe they even pre-date Christianity. There’s all sorts of crazy folklore surrounding these delicious buns, some believed that if you took some on a sea voyage, they would protect against shipwreck. Or that if you hung one up in your kitchen, you would have no fires and make perfect bread for the whole year ahead.

This year I used a Gourmet Traveller recipe that was a little twist on the traditional, using dried apples in the mixture with a spicy cinnamon glaze. They were totally delicious, a big hit with everyone who tried them.

Working with yeast can be a little bit nerve-wracking for new bakers, but it’s really easy and absolutely worth the effort for beautiful fresh hot cross buns straight out of the oven! I’ve put together a step-by-step photo tutorial of how I made these awesome buns. I hope it will inspire you to make some!

Apple and cinnamon hot cross buns
Serves 16
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller

• 325g raw caster sugar
• 1 lemon
• 1 ½ Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored, diced
• 750g plain flour
• 150g sultanas
• 50g dried apple, diced
• 30g candied orange, diced
• 14g (2 sachets) dried yeast
• 3 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon allspice
• ½ teaspoon ginger
• 380ml milk
• 100g butter, coarsely chopped
• 1 egg

hot cross buns
1. Combine 260g and 275ml water in a saucepan, then squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, cut remaining lemon half into 5mm thick slices.

hot cross buns
2. Add to pan with apple and bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium and cook until lemon and apple are translucent (20-25 minutes).

hot cross buns
3. Strain, reserving fruit and syrup separately. When cool enough to handle, dice lemon, combine with apple and set aside.

hot cross buns
4. Combine 700g flour, sultanas, dried apple, candied orange, yeast, 3 teaspoons cinnamon, allspice, remaining sugar, reserved apple mixture and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

hot cross buns
5. Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan, warm over low heat until butter melts and mixture is lukewarm. Whisk in egg, then add milk mixture to the flour.

hot cross buns
6. Stir to form a soft dough.

hot cross buns
7. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes)

hot cross buns
hot cross buns
8. Place in a lightly buttered bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes).

hot cross buns
9. Knock back dough, divide into 20 even pieces, then knead each piece into a smooth ball. Arrange dough balls into two concentric circles on a large round or rectangular baking tray lined with baking paper, leaving 1cm between each for dough to expand. Cover with a tea towel and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes).

hot cross buns
10. Preheat oven to 220°C (430°F). Combine remaining flour and 70ml cold water in a bowl and stir to a smooth paste. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle and pipe a cross shape onto each bun.

hot cross buns
11. Bake for 10 minutes, reduce oven to 200°C (390°F) and bake until golden and buns sound hollow when tapped (8-10 minutes).

hot cross buns
12. Meanwhile, combine reserved syrup and remaining ground cinnamon in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until syrupy and combined. Brush thickly over hot buns, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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