Sticky hot cross buns

Sticky hot cross buns

Gently spiced and glazed with apricot jam, this recipe from The Welldiggers Arms, West Sussex is a must try for over the Easter weekend. If you don't like sultanas, we suggest using chocolate chips as an alternative.


For the bun:

300ml full fat milk, plus 2 tbsp more

50g butter

500g strong bread flour

1 tsp salt

75g caster sugar

1 tbsp sunflower oil

7g sachet of fast action or easy blend dried yeast

1 egg, beaten

75g sultanas

50g mixed peel, lemon and orange

Zest of 1 orange

1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped

1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the cross:

75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

For the glaze:

3 tbsp apricot jam


Step 1: Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature.

Step 2: Place the flour, salt, caster sugar and yeast into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk and butter mixture plus the beaten egg. Mix well using a wooden spoon. Then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.

Step 3: Tip mixture onto a lightly floured surface. Knead by holding the dough in one hand, stretching it with the heal of the other and folding it back on itself. Repeat for five minutes until smooth and elastic.

Step 4: Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for one hour or until doubled in size and a finger pressed into it leaves a dent.

Step 5: With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, finely chopped apple and ground cinnamon. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Leave to rise for one hour more, or until doubled in size, again covered by some well-oiled cling film to stop the dough getting a crust.

Step 6: Divide the dough into 15 even pieces (about 75g per piece). Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover (but don't wrap) with more oiled cling film, or a clean tea towel, then set aside to prove for one hour more.

Step 7: Heat your oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Mix the plain flour with about five tablespoons of water to make the paste for the cross (add the water one tablespoon at a time so you add just enough for a thick paste). Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses. Bake for 20 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven until golden brown.

Step 8: Remove the buns from the oven. Then gently heat the apricot jam until melted before sieving to remove any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.

Photo credit: Pexels (Taryn Elliot)