When you walk past bakers or into supermarkets at this time of year you cannot mistake the equist scent of hot-cross buns that fills the air.
This famous spiced, seasonal bun has become a staple for many at this time of year, but have you ever wondered where they came from?
Apparently eating hot cross buns on Good Friday historically marks the end of Lent because they are made with dairy products which were forbidden during this period.
Earliest records of the hot cross bun dates as far back as the 1700s but there are theories they may have perhaps originated even earlier in 13th century Herefordshire. One story being a certain monk from St Albans Abbey, Brother Thomas Rocliffe, developed a recipe for Alban Buns which he distributed to the poor on Good Friday. Another story for english folklore told buns baked on Good Friday would never go mouldy and were often seen as a good luck charm.
To give this recipe the Isle of Wight twist, use flour from Calbourne Watermill alongside Briddlesford milk and butter. Then of course local free range eggs – such as Brownwriggs, Hazlemere Farm or Delicia Farm. Last but not least because we think this ingredient is what makes this recipe truly special is the Honey – try Bunbury Bees or one of the many honesty pots around the Island can stock local honey.
You can source a lot of these ingredients at the local farm shops, greengrocers, butchers many of whom are still delivering during this time, so get your baking on this Good Friday!
Hot Cross Buns
- 2 7g sachets dried yeast
- 455 g Strong bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 1 tsp Sea salt
- 1 tsp Mixed spice
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Nutmeg
- 55 g Caster sugar
- 100 g Mincemeat
- 1 Large free range egg
- 2 tbsp Plain flour
- 55 g Sultanas or raisins
- 30 g Dried cranberries
- 2 tbsp Mixed peel
- Runny honey (to glaze)
- 200 ml Semi-skimmed milk
- 55 g Unsalted butter
- 50 ml Water
- Add the milk and water to a small pan and place over a low heat for a few minutes, or until slightly warm.
- Add the butter to a separate pan and place over a low heat for a few minutes, or until melted, then set aside.
- Transfer the warmed milk mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the yeast. Set aside.
- Sift the flour into a large bowl, then add the salt, spices and sugar, then stir the mincemeat into the mix.
- Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter, followed by the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, beat the egg then add it to the mixture.
- Using a fork, mix well until you have a rough dough, then transfer to a clean flour-dusted work surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until soft and springy.
- Return the dough to a flour-dusted bowl, cover with cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for an hour, or until doubled in size.
- Transfer the dough to a clean, flour-dusted work surface. Knock the air out by bashing it with your fist, then sprinkle over the dried fruit and mixed peel and knead into the dough.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C. Grease and line a large baking tray.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into balls. Evenly space them out on a lined baking tray as you go.
- Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for a further 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the plain flour and 2 tbsp water into a small bowl and mix to a thick paste.
- Gently pat down the risen buns then use the paste to carefully trace a cross over the top with a spoon.
- Place the buns into the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Transfer to a wire cooling rack, brush over a little honey and leave to cool.
- Slice open the sticky hot cross buns, spread with a little butter and serve.