Remember a few years ago when Heston Blumenthal's lemon myrtle hot cross buns cost $2 each? How about making a batch at home for Good Friday for a quarter of the price? Make sure the ground lemon myrtle you use is fresh as this will make all the difference to the flavour - I recommend Herbie's Lemon Myrtle. If you can't find lemon myrtle, use the zest of 2 limes (or ground cinnamon).
Hot Cross Buns are traditionally made and eaten on Good Friday. Yeast cookery is very satisfying, but it does take time. Allow yourself half a day to master all the steps. Once made and baked, these buns can be stored in the freezer until you’re ready to eat them.
For something different and impressive, make two larger buns by dividing the dough in half and bake for 20 minutes. Proceed as for the smaller buns.
- Prep Time : 2h 30 min
- Cook Time : 15-20 minutes
- Yield : 16
- plain flour - 500g (use half plain flour/half unbleached bread flour)
- ground lemon myrtle - 1 teaspoon
- ground ginger - 1 teaspoon
- orange - 1, zest only
- lemon - 1/2, zest only
- salt - 1 teaspoon
- unsalted butter - 75g, softened
- dried yeast - 2 x 7g sachets (or 30g fresh yeast)
- sugar - 100g
- warm milk - 1 cup (250ml)
- free range or organic egg - 1, beaten
- sultanas or currants (or use cranberries) - 1/2 - 3/4 cup, soaked in warm water for an hour and strained
- self-raising flour - 6 tablespoons
- water - 3 - 4 tablespoons
- water (or lemon or lime juice) - 2 tablespoons
- sugar - 2 tablespoons
- ground lemon myrtle - 3/4 teaspoon (or lemon or lime zest)
- ground ginger - 1/2 teaspoon
Cream the yeast with a little of the sugar and warm milk in a small bowl. When creamed, add the remaining sugar and milk and stir to combine. Leave for 10 – 15 minutes to prove.
Sift together the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Rub through the butter using the tips of your fingertips until finely distributed. Make a well in the centre of the flour.
Pour the yeast mixture into the well in the flour mixture. Add the egg and citrus zests and dried fruit. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture is well combined.
Turn out onto a floured board or marble slab. If the dough is sticky, knead in some more flour - or if too dry, add a little more warm milk. Knead for ten minutes or until smooth and satiny. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and brush a little oil over the top of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and a tea-towel and leave to prove (rise) in a warm place for 1 ½ hours or until doubled in bulk (time will depend on how warm it is).
Preheat oven to 200degC (180deg Fan Forced).
Turn out of the bowl, punch down, and divide into 16 pieces. Form each piece into a roll and place on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Cover with plastic wrap and a tea-towel, and leave to prove again for 30 minutes (this may take longer depending on how warm it is).
Using a sharp knife, make a cross shape in the tops of the rolls before baking (this step is optional). Pipe a cross shape into the indent using a paste made from mixing together the self-raising flour and water. Alternatively, wait until rolls have been baked and are cool and pipe on a cross made with icing sugar and a little lemon or lime juice.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from oven and whilst still warm, brush with the glaze.
For the glaze: combine the sugar and water in a small pan and heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon myrtle and ginger until dissolved. Strain through a fine sieve then brush over the warm buns.
Note: If you have a bread machine, you can save time as it will knead the dough for you – follow the manufacturer’s instructions.