No.  I’m not talking about my fine back porch.

It’s Easter weekend (Good Friday, to be precise), so I’m actually talking about my take on the favorite treat for this time of year – hot cross buns.  Whether you rip into them hot out of the oven or halve and toast them with a little butter, these little lovelies are absolutely delicious for breakfast or even after dinner!

In the UK, we get a four-day weekend to kick back and relax so today, the mister and I are going to meet up with some friends for a hike in the April sunshine before we get hit next week with April showers.  As I write this, I have a batch of buns rising in a buttered bowl to bake then share on the walk.  Full of dried currants, raisins and citrus peel, they’re almost like trail mix in a pastry.

Anyhow, I’ve lived in the  UK for six years now, and for five of those years, I’ve been looking for the ultimate … the best … the scrummiest bun recipe.  Some years, they’ve been hard as rocks … others, they’ve been dry.  Well, after trying dozens of recipes – and tweaking them – I’ve finally developed a recipe that gives you gorgeous, pillow-soft and soooo amazingly rich and spicy buns, you’ll want to keep the lot for yourself.

Oh … why are they hot agnostic buns???  Basically, because I can’t be bothered to make the pastry dough cross along the top.

So … one last thing … before I give you the recipe …

Q:  What do you get if you pour boiling water down a rabbit hole?

A:  Hot cross bunnies!

Happy Easter!!

Hot Agnostic Buns

  • 450 g bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp mixed spice (not apple pie spice!  make sure you get something called mixed spice – or use the link to make it yourself)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tbsp instant yeast
  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp milk
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp mixed peel (or candied citrus peel)
  • 1 1/4 cup mixture currants, raisins, golden raisins, cranberries, dried cherries (or any iteration thereof)
  • 1 large egg
  • Golden syrup or golden corn syrup

Okay, first, put the milk and the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter has melted, then pour into a bowl and add the raisin mixture and mixed peel.  Let that cool slightly while you get the dry ingredients together.  In a large bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour, salt, mixed spice, cinnamon, yeast and light brown sugar.  Put the speed on low and let the dough hook mix it together for a minute or two.  Add the egg to the milk mixture and use a fork to lightly beat it in before slowly pouring it into the flour mixture while the hook is stirring it all together.  When the flour has been absorbed, let it rest for about three minutes or so.  Then turn the mixer back on the lowest setting and knead the dough for about 10 minutes.  Periodically stop it, remove the dough from the hook and restart it, just to make sure the bread gets well and truly kneaded.

When the ten minutes are up, put the dough in a large bowl that’s been lightly buttered, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled – usually about an hour.  When it’s done rising, divide the dough in half and gently roll each half into a tube about 4 inches thick.  Divide the tube into 4 sections, roll them and place them on a baking sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper – place each bun about an inch or so apart.  When all the dough has been formed and placed on the tray, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise another 40 minutes or so while you preheat the oven.

Heat the oven to 400 F.  After the buns have had their second rise, remove the plastic and bake for 20-25 minutes – don’t let them get dark.  Heat a little golden syrup to loosen it up, then lightly brush the outsides of the buns to make them glossy and slightly sticky.  Eat them straight out of the oven, or let them cool and put them in a zippy bag, then cut in half and toast, then spread with yummy yummy butter and serve!

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