Food & Wine Photo Credit: Julie Van Rosendaal

You’ll Love These Hot Cross Buns

Our contributing editor Julie Van Rosendaal makes a can’t-resist new take on a classic recipe.

Over at her excellent blog, Dinner With Julie (bookmark it, stat), contributing editor Julie Van Rosendaal tackles this sweet update on the classic hot cross bun. You’ll get the cross when you drizzle icing in the standard X, or you could just let loose and let the drizzle fall where it may. She’s shared the recipe with us for the WL Recipe Finder, or you can pop over to DWJ as well.

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Over the past week or so, a half-dozen people have said to me—mostly in passing—please tell me you have a hot cross bun recipe! Which makes me partly wonder why there’s such desperation for a good recipe, and whether or not people actually do make them from scratch, or just like the idea of making their own. A hot cross bun will always, in my mind, be cinnamon-heavy and come from a bag, with a soft, squishy supermarket texture and rubbery not-really-icing crosses, that are only really worth eating when toasted and heavily buttered. I’ve made a few good batches in the past, but nothing worthy of looking forward to year after year.

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Despite their carbiness and spices and dried fruit, most hot cross buns do not live up to their potential. (Mostly—no offense to anyone’s buns.) But a cinnamon-raisin bun should be delicious.

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And so I thought it would be a good idea to take a new stab at the hot cross bun, to relieve it of its packaged grocery-store image, even free it (somewhat) from its traditional bun form. Maybe get it together with a cinnamon bun and see what happens. Maybe douse small wads of dough in cinnamon-sugar and bake them cuddled together in a muffin cup so that you can pull the pieces apart and eat them with your fingers, your other hand wrapped around a steaming coffee whilst the kids run around the living room searching for Peeps?

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The dough itself is loaded with raisins and candied citrus peel—or citron—I like this better than the bits of glacé mix, which I’m sure I’ve mentioned before is often made of brightly coloured rutabaga. Any dried fruit goes—chopped dried apricots, cherries, cranberries—you could scatter them between the balls of dough as you pile them, but I kneaded them in to protect them from the heat of the oven. (Raisins don’t like to get burnt.)

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As soon as they come out, a bit of sugar stirred into a bit of water and brushed overtop gives them a nice shine. Don’t let the length of the recipe intimidate you—it’s all easy stuff.

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And the glaze! You can drizzle it (or squeeze it out of a Zip-lock baggie) into crosses if you like—or go all Jackson Pollock on your buns. This is my favourite part—everything looks better spattered in icing. (Except me.)

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Find the recipe in our WL Recipe Finder.

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