How to make hot cross buns

Video guide to hot cross buns

Nothing says Easter like a hot cross bun and the kids are going to love cooking and eating them. This basket of ingredients is all you need to make these glorious hot cross buns; they're so easy, it's kids' play.

Create the dry mix

OK, so starting with the dried mix. You want 500g of strong white bread flour and just tip it into a sieve, the sifting comes in a moment. Then add a teaspoon of salt, two teaspoons of mixed spice and 50g of caster sugar. Now comes the sifting. Doing it this way makes it so fast.

Add the yeast

Next the yeast; this is a 7g sachet of easy-blend dried yeast. Now the fruity part, 250g of mixed fruits. It's a great shortcut to getting mixed fruits and citrus zest for a real tang.

Now the yeast has to be activated to make the buns rise and you do this by adding a mixture of 250ml of warm milk and 50g of melted butter. Then a large beaten egg and just mix it to form a dough. The kids will really enjoy this.

Knead the dough

Then tip it onto a floured work surface and start kneading. You'll need to do this for five to eight minutes and it's great fun for your little helpers to take a turn. It helps you too, so everyone's happy.

Divide into 12 balls

When it's smooth and elastic, divide it into 12 equal pieces then shape each one into a ball and place them on an oiled baking sheet. The yeast is going to make the buns rise and double in size so make sure you leave enough room between them on the tray. When you've shaped all 12 buns, cut a cross in the top of each one; this is where you're going to pipe the crosses later. Just cut through from side to side, not too deep. Then leave them to prove in a warm place for about an hour and a half, covered in oiled cling film.

Mark the buns with crosses

Now the white crosses on the top of the buns are easy to make. It's just a paste made from 50g of flour mixed with six tablespoons of water and you just pipe it onto the crosses using a piping bag with a 1cm plain nozzle.

Then when each one has its little cross, get them into the oven at 190 degrees centigrade, gas mark 5 for 20 to 25 minutes.

Add the shiny glaze

Now, one of the most delicious things about a hot cross bun is its shiny glaze. You need 50g of caster sugar, three tablespoons of milk and three tablespoons of water. Get the heat on and when the sugar dissolves, boil it for a minute. When the time's up and the buns are golden brown, brush them twice with the glaze; this makes sure they're really shiny. The kids will love helping with this, it's edible painting. They'll really enjoy eating them too, warm with butter.

And that's it, easy homemade hot cross buns. Traditional at Easter but absolutely delicious at any time.

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