Traditional Hot Cross Buns for Easter

hot cross bunsEaster is the holiest day on the Christian calendar, commemorating the day Christ rose from the dead after his crucifixion, symbolizing the spiritual resurrection of all Christians. Traditionally, hot cross buns are served on Good Friday and the crosses marked on top are a symbol of the crucifixion. They are a delicious and meaningful Easter tradition. My mom used to make them, and now I do too. The buns should be soft, fruity and spicy, slightly sweet, with golden, wonderfully sticky crusts. If you bake them early in the morning on Good Friday, the wonderful fragrance of your buns will waft through the boat and get your guests quickly to the Easter breakfast table. These fruity, spicy buns are not only the real thing, they’re also fairly easy to make. It does take a bit of time, but a breadmaker can speed up that process and you probably have most of the ingredients on the boat already.


  • ½ cup currants
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • 10 gram Instant Yeast packet
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons demerara or white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ to 3 teaspoons all spice, according to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • ¼ cup glazed mixed peel or fresh if available
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon ml milk
  • 50 gram butter

For the crosses:

  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/3 cup cold water

For the glaze:

  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons warm water


  1. Mix all dry ingredients together, then use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour
  2. Add the Anchor Instant Yeast and mix.
  3. Add beaten egg and lukewarm milk to form a soft dough. Mix well.
  4. Cover and leave to rise until dough is double it’s original size.
  5. Add fruit and knead the dough well until smooth and elastic, for about 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes using an electric mixer. The dough should form a soft ball which, when pressed lightly, resume it’s shape. The dough should not be sticky.

Making the buns:

  1. Divide the dough into either 12, 15 or 16 equal pieces, and shape each piece into a ball.
  2. Place on a well greased baking sheet.
  3. The balls of dough can be spaced at least 2 inches apart if you want them separate. If not, you can place them closely together to fit more on one tray.
  4. Leave covered until doubled in size. This will take at least one hour or more in a warm environment. I spray a touch of butter over the top, cover lightly with cling wrap and leave in a sunny place but not directly in the sun
  5. To make the crosses, mix the flour and water until smooth and runny. Place mixture in a small zip-lock plastic bag and seal. Snip off a very small (2 mm) corner and pipe crosses on the tops of the buns.
  6. Bake 15 to 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 425F until dark golden brown.
  7. To make the glazing, dissolve sugar into the water and boil for 1 minute.
  8. Brush glaze mixture twice over each bun.

Serve warm.


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