“Good Friday comes this month—the old woman runs
With one or two a-penny hot cross buns,
Whose virtue is, if you believe what’s said,
They’ll not grow mouldy like the common bread.”
The humble Hot Cross Bun has been subject to some interesting superstitions over the years. One suggests that buns baked on Good Friday are said to last a year without growing mould, with the cross believed to ward off evil sprits. Another says that
sharing a Hot Cross Bun with someone ensured unbroken friendship for the coming year. You’re supposed to say these words: “Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be.”
Sounds like a good excuse to me.
I first made this recipe 15 years ago, though it has evolved considerably since that first baking. First to use spelt flour rather than the usual wheat. Then, the inspiration from Nigella Lawson to infuse the milk with orange zest and spices. Cardamom is my favourite spice—how could I resist? The result is a slightly sweet, delicately spiced bun, perfect for sharing with friends.
Spelt Hot Cross Buns
40g raw sugar + 1 tsp extra
600g white spelt flour + 1 tsp extra
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 heaped teaspoon mixed spice
1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon
zest of 1 orange
3 cardamom pods
30g fresh yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup spelt flour
1 tsp raw sugar
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1 tablespoon hot water
1. Weigh sugar into TM bowl. Blitz on speed 9 for 3 seconds to make caster sugar. Place flour, salt, mixed spice, cinnamon and butter into the bowl. Mix on speed 5 for 8 seconds. Set aside.
2. Place strips of orange zest into bowl and chop on speed 8 for 10-15 seconds, or until finely grated. Use the spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add milk, cardamon pods and clove. Infuse spices at 50°C for 10 minutes reverse speed 1. Leave to cool until the temperature is 37°C.
3. Remove the clove and cardamon pods from the milk. Add yeast and 1 teaspoon each of sugar and flour, mix on speed 3 for 5 seconds. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes or until mixture is frothy.
4. Add egg, sultanas and flour mixture to the bowl. Mix on reverse speed 6 for 6 seconds. Tip the dough onto Thermomat or into a bowl, cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
5. The next morning remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit for 30 minutes or so to allow it to come back to room temperature. Preheat oven to 200°C. Knead for a minute or two on the Thermomat, or a floured surface until the dough is smooth. Cut the dough into 16 pieces and shape into buns. Place the buns on a lined baking tray and leave for about 20 minutes, or until doubled in size.
6. Pipe crosses (or any other pattern of your choice!) onto the buns. Bake for 20 minutes. Brush tops with sugar glaze while buns are still hot from the oven.
Crosses: Mix spelt flour and sugar with enough water to make a paste.
Glaze: Combine sugar with boiling water, stir until sugar is dissolved.