Hot Cross Buns are a traditional equinox favorite! No Eostre celebration would be complete without some. They are best hot as the name implies.
Preparation Time: 3-ish Hours
1¼ cups of warm water
½ cup of soft brown sugar, packed
4 teaspoons of baking yeast
4 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup any combination of dried cherries, currants, cranberries and raisins, chopped dates, chopped dried apricots and/or chopped prunes.
juice of one orange
juice of one lemon
2 oz of butter or coconut-oil
1 egg (optional)
Frosting variations below
Put the warm water into a medium sized bowl and stir in the brown sugar until dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and set aside.
Melt the butter and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift the flour and spices and then add the dried fruit.
By now, the yeast mixture should be bubbly (if it is not you may have bad yeast), add it to the flour and fruit and pour in the melted butter.
Mix to combine and knead by hand until smooth. The dough should be barely sticky and firm. If it is very sticky add more flour, if it is very dry add a bit more water.
Cover and set aside one hour. It should double in size.
Cut and shape 15 buns and place in a greased baking pan.
Place the buns in a warm place to continue rising for around 40 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees F about 30 minutes in.
Lightly beat the egg and use a pastry brush to apply a thin coat of egg wash to the top of each bun.
Bake for about 5 minutes then remove from the oven and carefully cut a cross into the top of each bun.
Return to the oven and bake 15 minutes more or until done.
While the buns are baking, use a whisk to combine orange juice and powdered sugar with the softened cream cheese. Whisk until smooth.
Remove the buns and let sit five minutes. Then, if you are doing frosting, carefully apply the frosting to cuts made in the dough to form a cross.
1. Mix 5 tablespoons of flour with around one tablespoon of water, food coloring of your choice and a little sugar to make a firm dough. Roll into thin strips and place across the buns to form the crosses. Brush the strips with a little more egg wash BEFORE baking.
2. Mix 1/2 cup confectioners sugar with 1/2 cup orange juice and a tsp of milk. Draw crosses on top of the buns with this AFTER they are baked. (You can add food coloring to this too if you want to make it more festive.)
There is not a lot of sugar in this recipe, only enough to get the yeast going and add a bit of sweetness. If you need to add more sugar go ahead.
To make this recipe vegan, omit the egg wash, replace the butter with coconut oil and use vegan cream cheese for the frosting or soy or almond milk for the frosting variation 2.
This dish is best served on the following occasions: