Cinnamon & Honey Hot Cross Buns

Makes 6

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp orange juice
  • 3 tsp honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 100g raisins
  • 150ml milk
  • 40g golden caster sugar
  • 7g sachet instant dried yeast
  • 300g strong white flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • 30g chopped mixed peel
  • Zest of 1 small orange
  • egg, beaten
  • 35g butter, melted and cooled

For the topping

  • 50g plain flour
  • 3 tbsp water

To serve

  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 knob butter

Instructions

  1. Whisk the orange juice and honey in a bowl. Add the cinnamon stick and the raisins, cover and set aside for at least half an hour.
  2. Heat the milk until lukewarm, either on the hob at low temperature or in the microwave. Add 2 tsp of the golden caster sugar to the milk, then sprinkle in the yeast and stir gently. Set aside for 5-10 minutes until froth forms on the top.
  3. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and mix in the salt, the remaining sugar, the cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice. Drain the raisins and add to the bowl together with the mixed peel and 1 tsp of the orange zest, then stir with a wooden spoon until dispersed evenly. Add the egg to the mixture along with the melted butter and the milk. As soon as the ingredients are incorporated, prepare to knead the dough.
  4. If kneading with an electric mixer, use a dough hook at low speed for around 5 minutes. Once the dough starts to form a ball and come away from the sides of the bowl it can be tipped onto a floured surface to be finished by hand. Knead for a couple of minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If kneading by hand, tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 6-7 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. At this stage, the dough should have a smooth surface, and spring back if pressed with a finger.
  5. Form the dough into a neat, round shape. Place it into a large, lightly oiled bowl then turn the dough over so that the light covering of oil on top stops it from drying out. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-1½ hours. Meanwhile, lightly grease the cake tin.
  6. The dough is ready when it has approximately doubled in size. Punch the dough to remove any air while still in the bowl, then remove and place on a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and form into smooth rounds. Arrange the buns in a circle 2-3cm from the edge of the cake tin and the same distance apart so they have room to expand. Cover the tin with cling film and return to a warm place for another hour.
  7. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6. To make the topping, mix the flour and water into a smooth paste and spoon it into a piping bag. Pipe a line across the middle of each bun, following the curve of the tin, then complete the traditional cross shape on the top of each bun. Bake for 15-18 minutes until deep golden brown, then remove the buns and place on a wire cooling rack.
  8. In a small saucepan over a low heat, gently warm the honey for the glaze. Add the butter, mix thoroughly and brush the glaze generously over each bun.

Tip: A delicious Easter treat served warm or cooled, these buns will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.