This traditional recipe originated from the 1600’s, with very simple ingredients it’s not as difficult as many people believe. The most difficult part is the preparation time required for this fabulous holiday treat. Although the name for Hot Cross Buns was commonly known as Good Friday Buns for nearly a hundred years, during the 1730’s the buns were starting to be sold on the streets, and therein the name as well as the popular rhyme emerged, as the sellers would shout out” One-a-penny, two-a-penny, hot-cross buns “… a penny for a larger bun or for two smaller ones. Hot Cross buns are hands down one of my all time favorite baked goods. I make them at least six times a year, if not more. Happy Easter!
- 2-1/2 cups + 2-1/2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2-3/8 teaspoon active yeast
- 3 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk at room temperature
- 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1-1/2 cup raisins
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
- 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 3/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2-1/2 Tablespoons milk
See video instructions & recipe here:
- Place the flour and yeast in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, and mix for about 30 seconds to distribute the yeast evenly.
- Add sugar, salt, eggs, and milk, and mix on low speed for about 4 minutes.
- Continue to mix on low speed for an additional 30 minutes NOTE (Dough will begin to stick to the sides of the bowl, but that’s ok).
- Begin to add room temperature butter cubes a few at a time, making sure to incorporate each addition before the next.
- Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl and push the dough off of the hook as necessary.
- Once all the butter has been added, continue to mix the dough for an additional 10 minutes.
- While the dough is mixing in the last 10 minutes, place all the raisins in a medium sized bowl. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over them, and allow them to soak in the hot water for about 5 minutes to plump them.
- Drain the raisins, lay paper towels down, pat dry and return it to a clean bowl. Add the vanilla extract and toss together.
- Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Turn the brioche dough out of the bowl and onto a lightly floured work surface. With lightly floured hands gently shape the dough into a rectangle.
- Pour the raisins on top of the dough, and gently knead them into the dough (The dough will be very sticky at this point, but only use the smallest amount of additional flour necessary to be added to work with the dough). Once the raisins have been distributed evenly, shape the dough again into a rectangle.
- Stretch The left side of the dough out, and fold it over itself, going two-thirds of the way in. Repeat with the right side, as though you were folding a letter in thirds. Turn The dough over, seam side down, and repeat the folding process, this time holding the top and bottom sides of the dough. Lift the dough from the work surface and place seam-side down in the prepared bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it sit at room temperature for 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes, repeat the same stretching and folding process, and return the dough to the bowl. Cover and let it sit for an additional 45 minutes at room temperature. NOTE ( on chilly days I usually place dough in microwave turned off)
- Spray a sheet pan with nonstick spray. Line the pan with parchment paper or Silpat and then spray the paper with nonstick spray.
- After the second set of 45 minutes, turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. With a sharp knife to divide the dough into 12 equal portions. (Use a scale for this!)
- Gently roll each portion of dough with your hands against the work surface, until you form a completely smooth ball. Repeat with the remaining 11 portions of dough. Arrange the balls of dough on the prepared sheet pan and 4 rows of 3. Brush the tops of the balls with the lightly beaten egg.
- Cover the pan with a plastic bin (I use the plastic cover of my cupcake carrier) and let the balls proof for an hour and a half (they will have grown in size, and will be touching one another).
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the tops of buns with more beaten egg and then bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the centers are Baked through when tested with a toothpick. Placed the sheet pan on a trivet, and allow them to cool completely.
- While the buns are cooling, prepare the icing. Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the paddle running, slowly pour in the milk. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, mix on low-speed for about a minute, or just until the icing is smooth.
- Transfer the icing to a piping bag in snip off about 1/4 inch at the tip (I used a disposable piping bag with no tip, but if you want to use a tip, use a plain round one.) beginning at one end of the sheet pan, pipe a continuous line across the row of buns, repeating for each row. Pipe another line of icing in the opposite direction, to create a cross, and repeat for each remaining row.
- Serve the buns as they are in the pan, or pull them apart to serve individually. The buns are definitely best on the day they are baked but will keep if stored in a single layer in an airtight container with icing.
Makes 12 Buns