I consider myself a hot cross bun purist (of sorts). They shouldn’t have chocolate chips, icing, or cranberries. They must have sultanas. And they certainly shouldn’t be eaten two weeks after Christmas. I’m willing to relax the rules a little to eat them a few weeks before Easter and to adapt this recipe from NotQuiteNigella, that uses honey and speculoos spices in the buns. I’m standing firm on the chocolate chips though.
My first problem (and deviation from the recipe) was the speculoos spices (more here about the quantities that NQN used for her spice mix). I had most of the spices but in whole form, not powdered. I tried grinding in the Bellini, loosely following instructions for the Thermomix. It took a lot longer than the Thermomix instructions – 3 lots of 1 minute bursts on Sp10 (and they still weren’t perfectly ground but good enough). In the end I ground 3 cinnamon sticks, 1 star anise, 1 tsp white peppercorns, 1 tsp whole cloves, 1 tsp cardamon pods. I added 2 tsp of ground nutmeg (didn’t have whole) and used 2 tsp of this mix in the buns. It was okay, but not exceptional, and probably not worth the effort to be honest. So feel free to substitute with cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice etc.
The honey glaze is pretty special, and the honey in the buns is lovely. I used Nigella Lawson’s bread technique of throwing everything in, rather than leaving yeast to bubble in the warm milk first, and this works perfectly well here and saves you 15 minutes.
Honey spiced hot cross buns
- 340g milk
- 50g butter cut in chunks
- 150g honey
- 1 egg
- 660g plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 300g sultanas
- 2 tsp mixed spice or speculoos spices
- 25g dried yeast
- 75g honey
- 75g hot water
- 1 tsp powdered gelatin
- 70g plain flour
- 70g water
1. Add milk, butter and honey to the bowl. Mix on Sp2, 50 deg for 40 sec.
2. Add egg. Mix Sp3 for 10 sec.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients in the following order: flour, salt, 100g of the sultanas, spices, yeast. Mix on Sp6 for 20 sec then Sp4 for 20 sec. If you have a thermal cooker with a knead function, then use this instead.
4. Take the dough out of the jug (n.b. I found it a bit tricky to scrape the dough out of the jug. The good people at the Bellini Addicts facebook page recommended that I remove the blades first, then scrape the dough out. You can also do the trick of removing most of the dough, then pulsing twice to throw the dough from the blades to the walls of the jug). Put it in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
5. Scrape the risen dough out of the bowl, and flatten it down. Sprinkle the rest of the sultanas (200g) on the dough and then fold the edges of the dough in, to incorporate them as much as possible. Knead lightly by hand to mix the sultanas through (10-20 seconds will do). Divide mixture into 15 buns. Put them on a lined cookie sheet or baking tray, lightly touching at the edges.
6. Preheat the oven to 180 deg. Leave the buns to rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
7. Mix together the flour and water to form the crosses into a runny paste. Spoon the mixture into a plastic bag and snip one corner off. Pipe crosses on the buns.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
9. Prepare the glaze by mixing the gelatine in the hot water, then adding the honey. Brush the glaze on the baked buns.