Hot cross buns

Photographer: Emma
Makes 24 buns

Inspired to cook a particular dish, I like to consult multiple recipes, mixing and matching ingredients and methods until I arrive at my own version of the recipe in question.  This recipe for Hot Cross Buns is no exception.  It is based on one that was given to me by Simone, a friend and fellow designer here in the Auckland studio.  As a child, every Easter Simone’s dad would bake these hot, spicy buns.  They immediately became a family favourite and it wasn’t long before they appeared on Christmas morning as well as Easter!  I figure they can’t come better recommended than that.

Though they are available to buy weeks before Easter, traditionally hot cross buns are eaten on Good Friday.  If I can’t eat them straight from the oven I like them best toasted, with lashings of unsalted Danish butter.


1 cup warm milk
5 tsp active dry yeast
½ cup sugar, plus 1 tsp
4 cups flour
1 tsp allspice
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
150g butter, melted
3 eggs
½ cup mixed peel
½ cup dried currants
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp orange zest
3 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp golden syrup, melted, for glaze


1. In a small bowl combine the milk, yeast and 1tsp sugar. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes or until foamy.
2. In a large bowl sift together the flour, allspice, cinnamon, salt and the remaining half cup of sugar. Lightly beat the eggs. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in yeast and egg mixtures, melted butter, currants, mixed peel and zest.
3. Stir mixture until a dough is formed. Transfer onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
4. Transfer dough into an oiled bowl, cover with gladwrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 ½ hours until the dough doubles in size.
5. Grease 2 large baking sheets. On a floured surface, knock back the dough and form into 2 30cm long logs. Cut each piece into 12. Form each one into a ball and arrange about 4 cm apart on the baking sheets. Let the buns rise until doulbed in size (about 45 minutes)
6. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC on bake.
7. Mix together the flour and water to form a smooth paste. Spoon this mixture into a piping bag (a snaplock bag with the corner cut off does a good job) and pipe crosses onto the buns.
8. Bake for 12 minutes, turning halfway through baking. As soon as you remove the buns from the oven brush with the golden syrup glaze and then set aside to cool on a wire rack.