An Easter tradition for many is to enjoy a warm hot cross bun straight from the oven on Good Friday. Even more special when you can make them together at home.
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ whole milk
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1½ tsp vanlla extract
- 4½ tsp active dry yeast
- 3 cups bread flour
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp grated nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ½ cup dry raisins, plump in hot water and cool down
- 1 egg, beaten for brushing
For the icing
- 2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
- 2 tbsp whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine water and milk in a medium saucepan and warm over low heat until about 100°F. Remove from heat and sprinkle the yeast, a pinch of sugar and flour over the surface of the liquid. Set aside without stirring the mixture starts to rise; about 30 minutes
Whisk the butter, egg yolk and vanilla into the yeast mixture.Whisk the flour, remaining sugar, salt and spices in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and stir in the yeast mixture to make a thick and slightly sticky dough. Stir in the raisins. Put the dough into a work area with a little bit of flour to avoid sticking and knead until soft and elastic; about 8 minutes. Shape into a ball.
Brush the sides of a large bowl with butter. Put the dough into the bowl and turn it to lightly coat with butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature until double the size; about 1½ hours.
Turn the dough out of the bowl and pat into a rectangle, about 16×18 inches. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions, about 2oz. each, with a pizza cutter or a knife.
Roll the small pieces against the table into tight round buns. Place approximately 1½ inches apart on a buttered baking pan or in a sheet pan lined with baking paper.
Cover the pan with buttered plastic wrap and let the buns rise until double in volume; about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, put a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat at 375°F.
Remove the plastic wrap and brush the top of the buns with the beaten egg. Bake the rolls until golden brown and puffy; about 25 minutes.
For the glaze, stir together the sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth. Transfer the icing to a zip or pastry bag. Ice the buns in a cross shape while still warm.