Hi! I’m just popping in super quick to drop this recipe here in time for the lead up to Easter! I was obsessed with how the Dark Chocolate Cardamom Hot Cross Buns turned out, so I wanted to develop a recipe for a more traditional fruit recipe too, just so that we have some options, you know? I’m equally as obsessed with these ones as am the chocolate ones, so would have a really hard time deciding between them!
I riffed on the chocolate recipe - the dough is perfect and soft, so I ditched the cocoa, and heavily spiced the dough. In New Zealand, we use a mixed spice blend (as opposed to allspice which is actually a spice of its own) that you can buy in the supermarket. I haven’t seen anything like it here, so I came up with my own mix of spices, which I actually prefer a little more, as I was able to control the ratio of spices within the dough a little more easily. I went for a big hit of the regular suspects - cinnamon and nutmeg, then rounded it out with some ground ginger, cardamom, cloves, allspice, and coriander. If you don’t have all of these spices, feel free to sub one for another, but I would make sure to include the cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice in there if you can!
I also snuck in an additional step - soaking the fruit before incorporating it into the dough. For this recipe, I soaked the dried raisins and currants in some strong Earl Grey tea, which helped to soften them and hydrate them so that they weren’t chewy in the dough. You can’t taste the tea in the finished product, but it just adds another dimension of flavour. Because the dough is quite soft, and the fruit is also quite soft, I prefer to incorporate it by hand once the dough has finished rising, in order to avoid it all getting squished along the edges of the bowl. I shaped these into 20, rather than the 12 buns I did with the chocolate version. This gave me slightly smaller buns, which I arranged 4x5 on a lined baking sheet - either works perfectly, so you can choose your size depending on what you are feeling!
I then finished them off with what I now consider the only way to do a cross on a hot cross bun - with a custard cross. I followed Ima’s lead, scoring the dough before it went into the oven, and then piping the crosses on once they had had 20 minutes in the oven, which makes the scored lines open up, giving you perfect wee gaps in which to put the pastry cream. Once the buns are fully baked, I brushed them with a vanilla bean syrup, to give them a perfectly shiny finish. Whether you make these or the chocolate ones, you’re going to have a great time. Happy Easter Baking! xx
A few wee tips:
I made these buns into 20 - arranged 4 across and 5 down. If you would like them slightly larger, follow shaping instructions for the dark chocolate cardamom buns.
I like to make the pastry cream while the dough is doing its first rise, then place it into a piping bag with a clip both above the tip and above the pastry cream, then cool it directly in the piping bag which helps to prevent a skin from forming
I did these all in one day, but the first rise can absolutely be done overnight in the fridge if you wanted to have them first thing in the morning - the second rise post shaping may take a little longer.
The dough for these will seem a little softer than you are used to - I jammed a whole lot of milk and butter into them, which makes for the most lush, soft bun. Just trust me on this one - it makes it easy to roll them too!
I kneaded the fruit in by hand toward the end. It will feel really weird and wet squishy to start off with, but just keep kneading and incorporating - you can add a teeny bit of flour to the surface if you need, but it will all eventually incorporate. I like to pat the dough into a rectangle, scatter the fruit over the top, then kind of fold it up into a package and start kneading from there.
If you don’t like Earl Grey Tea (you can’t really taste it, but some people just don’t like it), you can soak the fruit in some warmed orange juice, or strong black tea. They would be good soaked in chai too!
'Traditional Style' Fruit Hot Cross Buns with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Cross
- Makes 20 buns -
Pastry cream cross adapted from Ima
300g strongly brewed earl grey tea (see notes)
200g raisins, golden raisins, or sultanas
50g dried currants
340g whole milk, lukewarm
120g sugar, divided
3 tsp active dry yeast
590g all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Cross
40g corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
400g whole milk
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
Vanilla Bean Syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
tiny pinch of salt
- PROCESS -
Place the raisins and currants in a medium bowl, and cover with the hot Earl Grey tea. Leave to soak for 30 minutes, then drain thoroughly - I like to transfer them to a sieve and leave them to drain while I make the dough.
Place the lukewarm milk, 15g of the sugar, and the yeast in a medium sized bowl, and stir to combine. Leave for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, place the remaining 105g sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cloves, cardamom, and coriander, and mix well to combine.
Add the milk mixture and vanilla bean paste to the dry ingredients, and mix on low for 2-3 minutes. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes. Add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is incorporated until adding the next piece. Mix for a further 7-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and soft.
Turn out the dough onto a work surface (I do not find that there is a need to flour, but add some if needed), and knead in the fruit by hand (see notes). It will take longer than you expect but the fruit will eventually incorporate into the dough.
Shape the dough into a ball, and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or place in the fridge overnight. While the dough is proofing, make the pastry cream.
VANILLA BEAN PASTRY CREAM
In a medium bowl, whisk together the corn starch and sugar. Add the eggs, salt, and vanilla bean paste, and whisk well to combine.
In a medium saucepan, place the milk over a low heat until just shy of a simmer.
Whisking constantly, pour about half of the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture. Whisk until smooth, then add back into the saucepan. Whisking constantly, cook until thick. Add the butter and whisk to combine.
Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round piping tip, and a clip just above the tip to prevent any leakage. Twist the piping bag closed, or secure with another clip, and store in the fridge until needed.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, and weigh the dough. Divide the weight of the dough by 20, and divide the dough into 20 equal sized pieces. Roll each tightly into a ball, then arrange evenly on the baking sheet, in a 4 by 5 arrangement, leaving a little space between - don’t space them too far apart if you want them to join together in the oven to give the ‘classic’ hot cross bun look.
Lightly cover the pan with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place for about 45 minutes, or until puffy and the dough springs back when lightly pressed with a finger.
Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Using a sharp paring knife or razor blade, score crosses in the buns.
Bake the buns for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and pipe the pastry cream in crosses in the holes provided by the scoring.
Return the buns to the oven and bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes, or until the buns are lightly golden brown, or until they register 200°f / 90°c on an instant read thermometer. While the buns are baking, prepare the sugar syrup.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool, before brushing on the sugar syrup (recipe below).
Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes, then leave to stand until ready to use.
Store leftover buns in an airtight container at room temperature. Reheat in the microwave briefly before eating. Serve with butter.