Hot Cross Bun Recipe

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Delicious spicy Hot Cross Buns are traditional treats for an Easter teatime. Taken from the book Royal Teas: Seasonal Recipes from Buckingham Palace, this is a recipe from the royal kitchen's repertoire of tea-time treats.

Traditionally eaten on Good Friday, Hot Cross Buns are first supposed to have been made by a monk in St Albans Abbey in the 14th century, to distribute to the poor.


1.5 free-range eggs

25g (⅛ cup) fresh yeast

375g (3 cups) strong flour

2 tablespoons unrefined caster sugar

60g (¼ cup) unsalted butter, chilled and diced

A generous pinch of salt

130ml (½ cup) tepid water

2 tablespoons candied mixed peel

2 tablespoons golden sultanas

2 tablespoons raisins

2 teaspoons ground mixed spice

For the piping paste:

4 tablespoons plain white flour

1 tablespoon unrefined caster sugar

1 tablespoon cold water

For the sugar syrup:

100ml (½ cup) water

200g (1 cup) unrefined caster sugar


Piping bag.


  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F, gas mark 7).
  2. Disperse the yeast in the tepid water. Sieve the flour, salt, sugar and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl, and then rub in the diced butter. Use your fingertips until all the butter has been incorporated into the flour.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the mixture. Place the eggs and dispersed yeast into a small bowl and mix together before pouring into the well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Mix together to form a soft pliable dough.
  4. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and carefully incorporate the dried fruit into the dough. Knead the dough for a further 5 minutes, or until it feels smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to a clean mixing bowl. Cover the mixing bowl with cling film or a damp clean tea towel, and set aside in a warm area for about 1 hour to prove. The dough should at least double in size.
  5. Once the dough has doubled in size it needs knocking back. Set it on a lightly floured surface again and knock the air out of the dough before dividing into 15 evenly sized buns. You can weigh them on a set of scales to ensure consistent sizes; you will need about 50 grams of dough per bun.
  6. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and place on to a lined baking tray. Be sure to leave a sufficient space around each bun to allow room as they prove again. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to prove in a wam area of your kitchen, until they have once doubled in size. The time this takes will depend upon how warm your kitchen is, but assume around 30-45 minutes.
  7. Mix together all of the ingredients for the piping paste to form a paste with a consistency that will allow you to pipe a cross on to each bun. Pipe the crosses, then place the buns on the middle shelf of the preheated oven and bake for 8-12 minutes, or until they turn a pale golden brown. Whilst they bake, boil together the sugar and water to make the sugar syrup. As as soon as you remove the buns from the oven, brush them with the warm sugar syrup and set aside to cool on a wire rack.

Baking Essentials