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Good at any time of the year, but an absolute must at Easter. We don’t much adhere to many traditions at Easter, but it is always nice to have a freshly toasted (and even better, baked) hot cross bun with a cup of tea. That and the ubiquitous chocolate eggs of course.

These would be very easy to make if you had a food processor with a dough hook. Otherwise, it’s get stuck in with a very, very sticky dough. Well worth the effort though. They smell amazing when baked and even better when toasted. So call them, Crucifiction Cakes, or Messiah Muffins, call them what you like, these are damn tasty… Happy Easter!

Makes 10

250g strong white flour

250g plain flour

50g golden caster sugar

1 tspn dried yeast

2 tspn salt

125ml warm milk

125ml warm water

1 egg

50g butter

100g sultanas (or any other dried fruit for that matter)

1 tspn ground mixed spice

1 tspn orange extract or a few gratings of orange zest

For the crosses

50g plain flour

100ml water

For the glaze

1 tbsp golden caster sugar

1 tbsp water

In a bowl, mix together the flours, sugar, yeast and salt. Then using a spoon (I use a wooden knife) stir in the milk and mix around with one hand (one clean hand is useful). Then add the egg and butter and knead for 5 – 10 minutes until the dough is smooth (it’ll still be sticky). Clean out the bowl, grease lightly with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl, cover with damp tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for about an hour. You want it to be close to doubling in size.

After that time, knock back the dough and divide into ten equal balls. And then form into rounds:

and place on a floured surface. Dust with flour and cover with tea towel. Leave to prove for a further half an hour or so.

Pre-heat the oven to 200c. To make the crosses, whisk together the flour and water until smooth. Make a piping bag (I sometimes use baking paper, wrapped around into a cone or a plastic food bag with the end snipped off). Then move the buns to a baking tray, pipe a cross (or whatever heathen symbol you desire) on each one, and bake in the oven until golden (about 15 to 20 minutes).

To make the glaze, melt the sugar with the water in a pan. Brush over the buns whilst you remove from oven (i.e. whilst they’re hot), transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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