A hot cross bun is a spiced, sweet bun that is usually made with fruit and marked with a cross of icing or glaze at the top – thus, the name. Traditionally, they are eaten on Good Friday, which is on April 2nd of this year. The bun marks the end of Lent, a season of preparation and reflection, before the Easter holiday. But, of course, this delicious treat doesn’t need to have any sort of significance behind it and can be enjoyed by anyone on any day of the year. We recommend eating it fresh out of the oven with a steaming hot cup of hot coffee! Now, doesn’t that sound like the perfect weekend morning?
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (2 (1/4 ounce) packages)
• 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus as needed
• 1 large egg yolk
• 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 3 cups all-purpose flour (13 ounces)
• 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
• 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/2 cup currants, plumped in the microwave and cooled
• 1 egg beaten, for brushing
For the icing/glaze:
• 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. To make the dough: Combine the water and milk in a medium saucepan and warm over low heat until about 100 degrees F. Remove from heat. Sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of sugar and flour over the surface of the liquid. Set aside without stirring, until foamy and rising up the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes.
2. Whisk the butter, egg yolk, and vanilla into the yeast mixture.
3. Whisk the flour, the remaining sugar, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and stir in the yeast mixture with a wooden spoon to make a thick, shaggy, and slightly sticky dough. Stir in currants. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until soft and elastic, about 8 minutes. Shape into a ball.
4. Brush the inside of a large bowl with butter. Put the dough in a bowl, turning to coat lightly with butter. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
5. To form the rolls: Butter a 9 by a 14-inch baking pan. Turn the dough out of the bowl and pat it into a rectangle about 16 by 8 inches. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions – about 2 ounces each – with a pizza wheel or bench scraper.
6. Tuck the edges of the dough under to make round rolls and place them seam-side down in the prepared pan, leaving a little space in between each roll. Cover the pan with buttered plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the rolls rise almost to the rim of the pan and have more than doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
8. Remove the plastic wrap and brush the tops of the buns with a beaten egg. Bake rolls until golden brown and puffy, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the rolls registers 190 degrees F, about 25 minutes.
9. For the glaze: Stir together confectioners' sugar, milk, lemon zest, and vanilla until smooth. Transfer icing to a zip bag or pastry bag, and make a small cut in the corner of the bag. Ice buns in a thick cross shape over the top of the warm buns.
On the hunt for a new favorite recipe to add to your list of staples? The team at Westmount at Summer Cove Apartments in Houston, Texas encourages you to try your hand at this delicious option.