They say that if you share a hot cross bun with someone your friendship throughout the coming year is ensured, especially if you say “half for you and half for me, between us two shall goodwill be.”
Traditionally eaten on Good Friday, the Hot Cross Bun, fragrant in cinnamon and the soft, warm doughy goodness gets baked and topped with a frosting in the shape of a cross.
Yield: 12 – 24 depending on the size roll you want
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for coating the pan and the knife
1 cup plus 1T whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons of coarse salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
5 1/2 cups AP Flour, plus more for coating the pan and knife
1 1/3 cup currants or raisins
1 large egg white
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preaheat oven to 375
Butter a large bowl for your hot cross buns to sit in. Set to the side.
Place 1 cup milk in a small saucepan, over medium heat. Heat until a meat or candy thermometer reaches 110 degrees, which is not very hot at all.
Pour the milk into bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook and slowly add granulated sugar, yeast, 2 teaspoons salt, butter, nutmeg, cinnamon and the whole eggs.
Next, add flour, one cup at a time, and mix on low speed until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms around dough hook. Continue kneading, scraping down hook and sides of bowl as necessary, until smooth, about 5 minutes more.
Add currants or raisins and knead with dough hook, to incorporate.
Turn dough out on to a heavily floured surface. Knead briefly to evenly distribute currants/rasins in dough. Shape into a ball. Place dough in prepared bowl. Turn to coat with butter. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Butter an 11-by-17-inch baking pan. Set aside.
Turn dough out onto work surface. Knead briefly and divide dough into 12-24 equal pieces (depending on how big you want your buns, keeping in mind they will still rise — I can’t help but laugh at the simple honesty of that statement). Shape each into a tightly formed ball. Place on buttered pan, spacing 1/2 to 1 inch apart. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until buns are touching and doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Whisk together 1 egg white, 1 tablespoon water, and a pinch of salt. Brush tops of buns with egg wash. Using scissors or a very sharp, buttered slicing knife, cut a cross into the top of each bun.
Bake until golden brown, 18 to 25 minutes. Rotate front to back after 10 minutes to ensure even color. Transfer pan to a wire rack. Cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Whisk together remaining tablespoon milk, confectioners’ sugar, and lemon juice. Pipe or ladle glaze cross over buns.