If there is a food that Easter is synonymous with, chocolate eggs aside, it is hot cross buns.
These spiced sweet treats are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, when Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the cross on the bun representing the crucifix. They are eaten around the world, including in the UK, Ireland, India, New Zealand, Canada and Australia.
Flavoured with currants, cinnamon and nutmeg, they are traditionally eaten toasted with butter.
In the UAE, you can buy hot cross buns at supermarkets including Spinneys (Dh11 for six), Kibsons (Dh14.50 for eight) and Waitrose (Dh8 for four). British retailer Marks & Spencer has got creative with its flavours in recent years, deviating from spices and dried fruits, with chocolate, Bramley apple, blond chocolate and salted caramel, blueberry and even savoury Marmite and cheese flavoured buns, available from Dh15 for packs of four.
Hot cross buns recipe
Sonu Koithara, executive chef at Taj Jumeirah Lakes Towers, shares a recipe to make a 25-strong batch of the fruit buns.
Ingredients for the starter
250ml warm milk
35g fresh yeast
Ingredients for the dough
5g bread improver
250g black raisins (soaked water for a few hours beforehand)
5g Stollen spice (or a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in the same quantity)
Ingredients for the icing
50g T55 flour
25g corn oil
- Mix all the ingredients for the starter and set aside to ferment for 3 hours
- After 3 hours, mix the starter, flour, bread improver, egg, butter, nutmeg, cinnamon, stollen spice and sugar in a dough mixer on slow heat for 7 minutes
- Add the salt and continue mixing for 4 more minutes, then turn up the speed and mix for another 6 minutes
- Add the raisins and mix making sure they are evenly distributed
- Set the dough aside and let it rest for 1 hour
- Preheat the oven to 170°C
- Divide the dough into 25 even pieces (about 40g per piece)
- Roll each piece into a smooth ball and arrange on a baking tray lined with baking paper leaving space between each
- For the icing, whisk all the ingredients in a bowl until you get a smooth consistency
- Lightly brush the buns with olive oil and pipe along each row of the buns and repeat in the other direction, creating the cross marks
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the buns are a golden brown colour