I know I’ve been posting a lot of baking recipes lately – I’m going to blame it on the pregnancy! I promise I’ll change it up after this, but I simply couldn’t resist squeezing this one in for Easter.
I couldn’t help but notice that every hot cross bun that I’ve ever purchased is as hard as a rock. Was this intentional, I wondered? Clearly a fluffy, flaky soft bun is a superior way to go, no? I decided to go a bit rogue this year and make my own version that skipped on the candied fruit (never popular in our house) and went heavy on some rum-soaked raisins. Yes, I’m quite the rebel.
I used a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip to make the crosses. I started out with a thicker dough but it was a nightmare to pipe, so I ended up using a slightly thinner version that still kept its shape but that you could pipe out in one seamless stream. I also tried doing the egg wash before placing them in the oven but it ruined the crosses, so as you can see below I recommend doing the egg wash part way through the baking process.
Of course, these are perfect for Easter but I guarantee that they will be showing up all year round in our house!
Makes 24 large buns or 36 medium buns
- 1/3 c. spiced dark rum
- 1 c. sultana raisins
Place the raisins in a small microwave-proof bowl, pour over the rum, and microwave for 1 minute. Stir and set aside to cool and soak for an hour (or longer).
- 1 ½ cups boiling water
- 1/2 c. honey
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 2 tsp. salt
Combine the above ingredients in a large bowl and cool.
- 1 ½ cups lukewarm water
- 3 tsp. sugar
- 2 Tbsp. dry yeast
In a liquid measuring cup, combine the water and sugar until dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, until it bubbles.
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- 6 cups flour – approximately (all-purpose or substitute 1/2 whole wheat flour)
- 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp. allspice
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Once the first mixture is cooled, add the eggs and 1 cup of flour. Stir well. Add the yeast mixture to this bowl, and stir till combined. Drain the raisins with a sieve. Add 4 of the remaining cups of flour, the drained raisins and the spices: stir until you can’t stir with a spoon (will get too difficult). Put the dough on a well-floured surface (counter) and using your hands, knead the dough for about 10 minutes. You will need to add more flour as you knead the dough to keep it from sticking to your hands and the counter. The dough will look smooth and ‘elastic’ when it is ready.
Put the dough in a well-greased large bowl, cover with a towel, and place in a warm draft-free place to rise. Once it has doubled in size (about 30-45 minutes), punch it down. Cover and let rise another 30 minutes. Punch down again.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a large baking sheet with oil, margarine or butter and line with parchment paper. You will need to grease an additional small 9″ round pan or a loaf pan if you are making small buns. Divide the dough into about 2/3 cup size pieces (a small handful), and shape into buns (balls) with your hands. Space the buns evenly in a grid on the pan about ½” apart: you should get approximately 24 buns in a large baking sheet (4 buns down x 6 buns across the pan). Cover the pan with a towel and let rise until doubled.
- 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1/4-1/2 c. water (approximately)
In a small bowl, mix all of the above ingredients together to form a thicker batter. Start with the 1/4 cup of water and add more until you have a batter that is the consistency of a thick pancake batter. It will need to hold its shape when piped but still be able to flow out of the piping bag. Fill a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip and pipe a cross, starting at one end of a row of buns and running along the centre of the entire row until you get to the end of the buns. Repeat on each row running length-ways, and do the same through the middle of the buns running the opposite direction to form a cross along the buns.
Bake for 15 minutes or until they are starting to turn golden brown.
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp. water
Whisk together the egg and water in a small bowl and, using a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash with a pastry brush and return to the oven to bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the buns are golden brown.