Hot Cross Buns
PREP TIME: 3 hours
MAKES: 18 buns


  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4-5 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus a few extra tbsp for flouring work surface
  • 1 cup dried currants
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground mace
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract Oil or solid vegetable shortening for greasing bowls and baking pans


  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water


  • 1 cup shifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest, grated
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk

Twenty minutes before baking, center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 375 °. In a small mixing bowl, pour in warm water and sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of sugar on top. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. In a large bowl using a whisk at first (and then switching to a wooden spoon when dough gets hard to stir) combine the remaining sugar, milk, butter, salt, eggs and 1 cup of the flour. Beat hard for 1 minute. Add the yeast mixture, dried fruits, mace, vanilla and 1 cup more flour. Beat until well-mixed, about 1 minute. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until soft, smooth and springy, about 3 minutes, dusting with flour - only 1 tablespoon at a time - when needed to prevent sticking. Push back in any fruit that falls out during kneading. Place the dough in a deep, greased bowl, turn once to coat the top and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Gently deflate the dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Grease two baking sheets or line them with baking parchment. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 10-inch log and cut into 9 equal portions. Form each portion into a round bun, and place each bun about 1 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Let rise, uncovered, until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes. With a sharp knife, cut a cross no more than 1/2-inch deep in the surface of each bun. Bake each sheet separately, 15-20 minutes, or until buns are browned and sound hollow when tapped. While first pan is baking make the glaze: Combine the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan. Boil, uncovered, for 5 minutes. When done, remove buns to a cooling rack and brush immediately with glaze. Let cool. Making the icing: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. When glaze is dry, place the icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small, plain tip, and pipe a cross over the top of each bun, following the imprint of the incision. Let stand 20 minutes until set.

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