I was pretty fortunate to have 2 great-grandmothers growing up. I was in fourth grade when I lost my Great Nanny and was 24 when I lost my Memere. Both were AMAZING bakers. My Great Nanny made the most amazing breads you have ever tasted and my Memere was the master of pizza dough and apple turnovers. One thing I remember vividly were the delicious hot cross buns that always let me know Easter was coming. Watching those two do their thing in the kitchen really inspired me to love food as much as I do, although I raise my fist up to the heavens every time I try to make something they made because there are recipes NOWHERE. Ugh!
If you are not a dessert person like me (I am not the biggest sweet eater. Gimme a bag of potato chips, but cakes and cookies are meh…..), then these are perfect for you. Serve these up with some butter, tea or coffee – or my personal favorite…… an ice cold glass of milk.
I have to be honest, these are not even half as good as the Hot Cross Buns my great-grandmothers would have graciously served you, but they are damn good. I hope I made them proud. Especially since I had ZERO recipe to work on haha.
Hope you enjoy these little treats and get a little taste of nostalgia in every bite. I know I did!
Hot Cross Buns
Prep Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Cook Time: 16-18 minutes
Makes 12 Buns
3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 TBSP active dry yeast
¼ cup sugar
2 TBSP heavy cream
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup of butter, melted
2 large eggs
3 – 3 ½ cups of all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp of cloves
¾ cup of currants (or raisins)
1 egg yolk with 1 tsp water
1 egg white
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream
Add warm water to the bowl of your mixer. Sprinkle the yeast and ¼ cup of sugar over the water. Stir gently with a wooden spoon just to combine. Leave alone for about 5 minutes until the yeast blooms. It should have a “beer” smell and be bubbly.
When the yeast has bloomed, add 2 TBSP of heavy cream, tsp of salt and melted butter. Using the dough hook start to mix on the lowest setting.
Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.
Add the flour 1/2 a cup at a time, mixing with the dough hook the entire time. The dough should be still slightly sticky/wet, but hold together well.
At this point you can turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead gently for about five minutes (or if you don’t want to do the manpower, you can just use your dough hook on a medium low setting and knead for about 2-3 minutes). You want the dough to be really smooth and be able to visibly see the elasticity in it.
Coat a large bowl with a little bit of butter and place the dough into the bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Combine the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves into a tiny bowl and mix together. Set aside.
After the dough has risen successfully, punch down gently. Flour your work surface and turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Using your hands, pat the dough down to about a half of an inch thick.
Sprinkle a third of the cinnamon sugar mixture onto the dough. Take 1/3 of the currants (or raisins) and sprinkle them onto the dough evenly as well. Press down gently on the currants to hold them in place. Fold the dough in half and then press down gently once again until you get about 1 inch thickness. Repeat the cinnamon and sugar/currant process. Fold the dough in half one more time, press down again and add the remaining cinnamon and sugar/currants.
Press down until you get a nice rectangle, so it will be easy to divide the dough. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces.
Form the 12 pieces into a ball folding the dough underneath itself, kind of like you would do with pizza dough. Spray non-stick spray onto a large cookie sheet and place the 12 balls onto the cookie sheet.
Allow to rise uncovered for about 30 more minutes in a warm place.
While the dough balls are in the final rise, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Add the egg yolk and one tsp of water to a small bowl and mix with a fork to combine. Brush the egg mixture over the rolls after the 30 minute second rise.
Place into a 400 degree oven for about 16 - 18 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.
Allow to cool COMPLETELY. (Usually takes about 1 hour in a cool place).
To make the frosting beat egg white until nice and fluffy (like a loose meringue) and add the powdered sugar 1/2 a cup at a time. Add some cream if it gets too pilly. It should be very thick and should be able to hold its shape, but not so thick that you cannot squeeze it out of a pastry bag. (think of the pre-made squeezy frostings you can buy in the baking aisle). If you screw it up, it’s ok! If it is too loose at some more powdered sugar; if it is too thick add a tiny bit of cream until it is the right consistency.
Using a pastry bag or a ziplock bag with the tip cut off, add the frosting and make a cross design on top of each cooled hot cross bun.
Store in an air tight container for up to 3 days. Serve as is, or split open with some warm butter. MMMMMMmmmmmmm.
As always, get your asses in the kitchen!!!
Here are some other delicious dessert recipes from the Rotund Chef: Italian Easter Bread, Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls, Chocolate Chip Walnut Banana Bread, Apple Crisp with Mascarpone Cream, Black Forest Cupcakes
Krissi Biasiello is a native of South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Cooking since she was a little girl with her large Italian family, she decided to leave her paralegal job and shoot for the stars on FOX’s cooking competition show, MasterChef. She beat out 43,000 homecooks across America and came in 4th place. Under the scrutiny of Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich, Krissi has made her mark in the culinary world. She now shares her recipes with all of you! Her rustic, homestyle take on everything will win you over and will definitely “get your asses in the kitchen”.