Recipe courtesy of Melissa Gaman for Food Network Kitchen

Hot Cross Buns

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 45 min (plus cooling)
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 12 hot cross buns
These sweet rolls are a classic for many Christians on Good Friday, but they originated as a pagan treat: The four quadrants represented the phases of the moon or the seasons. The cross is formed by piping a flour-water paste onto the dough before baking.

Ingredients

For the Buns:

For the Crosses and Glaze:

Directions

  1. Make the buns: Combine the raisins with the orange juice and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave until steaming, 45 to 60 seconds. Set aside to plump and cool. Heat the milk in the microwave until just warm.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, butter and egg in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until the mixture looks like coarse sand. Add the warm milk and beat to make a soft, sticky dough. Add the lemon zest, cinnamon, allspice, candied orange peel and plumped raisins (plus any extra liquid) and mix briefly just to combine.
  3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, dusting with more flour and scraping with a bench scraper as needed, 3 to 5 minutes. The dough will be sticky at first; continue kneading until it’s just a little tacky and doesn’t need flour. Mist a large bowl with cooking spray and add the dough, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp heavy towel and set aside to rise until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn out the dough onto a clean surface and gently pat into an even rectangle. Cut into 12 equal pieces, then shape each piece into a ball. Evenly arrange on the baking sheet; lightly cover and let rise again until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Make the crosses: Whisk the flour and 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon water in 1/2-teaspoon increments until a thick, smooth, pipable paste forms. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 3/8- or 1/4-inch plain round tip (or use a resealable plastic bag and snip a corner). Once the rolls have doubled in size, pipe a cross on each.
  6. Bake until the rolls are golden brown and nicely risen, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack.
  7. Make the glaze: Stir the honey, melted butter and salt in a small bowl until combined. Brush all over the buns, including the sides. Serve warm or at room temperature.