Spicy hot cross buns

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Also known as spicy buns, these teatime favourites can be enjoyed any time of the year. What makes them so special? Two things: the spicy bite that enlivens every mouthful and the simple delight of baking them yourself. These buns are ready the moment you choose!

spicy hot cross buns

To make eight spicy buns, you will need:

  • 250g white cake flour
  • 5g sachet yeast
  • 5g salt
  • 120ml water
  • 120ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 50g castor sugar
  • 50g butter
  • Zest of one orange
  • 120g raisins
  • 5g mixed spice (see note in recipe)
  • 20g peach jam

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Sieve the cake and bread flour plus the salt into the mixing bowl. Add the yeast and castor sugar and stir briefly by hand to evenly distribute the ingredients.

Pour in the milk, water, egg and butter and mix at low revs with the dough hook if your mixer has one. This will produce a stiff dough.

At this stage, add the raisins, orange zest and mixed spices. You can take a short cut and use a premixed spice powder. But for a real high octane spicy blast off, consider a mixture of freshly ground cinnamon, pimentoes, cloves and mace.

Having done this, set the food mixer to low revs and let it run until the dough is smooth and well-mixed.

Cover the mixing bowl and let the dough rise until it is twice its original volume. Turn the risen ball of dough onto a floured work surface and gently knead it for a minute or so.

Break it up into eight equal dough balls and press these into flat rounds with your floured hands. Cover them with clingwrap and after 30 minutes or so, they will have risen once again to double their size.

Now for the cross or any other decoration that takes your fancy. Make a stiff mixture of 100g bread flour with 100ml of water.

Mix well to make a paste. Select a small clean plastic bag and cut off a millimetre or two from either of the bottom corners. Pour the mixture into the bag, hold it closed with one hand and squeeze it with the other.

Surprise! You’ve made an almost-free disposable piping bag. Decorate each bun with the motif of your choice.

Place the raw buns on a baking tray lined with baking paper. (This is a miracle invention that prevents raw baking from sticking to the tray, yet never burns in a standard oven.)

Stick the loaded baking tray into the middle of the oven (preheated to 200°C, you may remember) and let them bake for 15-17 minutes. While this is going on, prepare the jam-based glaze. Do this by diluting 20g of peach or apricot jam with an equivalent volume of boiling water.

Remove the buns from the oven when they are done and place them on a rack to cool.

Using a pastry brush, spread a thin layer of the diluted jam over the top surface to give them a pleasing, sugary shine. These magnificent spicy buns make every teatime special.