Hot Cross Buns

By Chef Megan Joy / March 21, 2013

Talk about a snow day. It’s the second day of Spring and I haven’t seen it snow this hard in quite a while. It took me over 20 minutes to uncover my car this afternoon!

Lucky for me all the work I need to do today allows me to work from home. I am preparing display cakes for a bridal show in Denver next month and trying to be organized and ready way ahead of time. All of my Megan Joy Cakes are very labor-intensive with lots of detail. Busy busy!

I just got back in town from a quick trip to Indiana for one of my grandmother’s surprise 80th birthday party. We all had a fun time. Also, doesn’t she look great for her age?!

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So now I’m easing back into my routine and here it is, already March 21st, and so close to Easter. This is that time of year when hot cross buns make their appearance, and they’re a great treat.

In my past experiences with hot cross buns, they’ve been dense and heavy. Not these ones; they are tender and light with a perfect mix of plump fruit, orange zest, and spices.

The dough isn’t overly sweet, so the icing on top provides that last little touch of sugar. A basic cream cheese frosting would also taste excellent on top of these. Eat them for breakfast or in the afternoon, gently warmed in the microwave.

And let’s all hope we see some warmer Spring weather soon!

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How to make this high altitude adjusted recipe:

Hot Cross Buns

Adapted from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel

Hot Cross Buns
Recipe type: High Altitude Baking
 
Ingredients
  • Sweet Dough:
  • 2½ cups + 2½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, cut into ½" cubes and room temperature
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup dried cherries
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 egg for egg wash
  • Icing:
  • 2¼ cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2½ tablespoons whole milk
Instructions
  1. For the sweet dough: combine the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, eggs, and milk in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  2. Mix on medium-low for about 5 minutes until the dough has proper gluten development. If you take a small piece of dough and stretch it between your thumbs and forefingers, it will stretch thinly without tearing. If it tears easily, mix another minute or two and check again.
  3. Once proper gluten development is reached, add half of the softened butter cubes to the dough. Mix on medium-low speed until the butter has incorporated into the dough.
  4. Add the remaining butter and mix until the dough is supple and smooth.
  5. Meanwhile, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and pour over the raisins and dried cherries in bowl. Soak for 5 minutes to plump the fruit.
  6. Drain the plumped fruit and blot dry. Stir in the vanilla and orange zest and add the fruit mixture to the finished dough.
  7. Mix on low speed for 1 minute until the fruit has swirled into the dough.
  8. Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough in it, turning over once to coat the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 60-75 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in volume.
  9. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and cut into 12 equal pieces.
  10. Roll each piece into a ball and place on a greased baking sheet, 2-3" apart.
  11. Beat the egg and brush it gently over each ball of dough.
  12. Cover the buns and let rise for about 40 minutes or until the buns are puffed and larger in size.
  13. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  14. Brush the buns with egg wash one more time.
  15. When the oven is hot, place the buns in and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are a rich golden brown.
  16. Set on a cooling rack and let cool completely.
  17. For the icing: combine the powdered sugar, spices, and milk and beat until smooth.
  18. Transfer the icing to a pastry bag and pipe in a cross over the top of each bun.
Note: This recipe was adapted for high altitude baking. To make at sea level, increase the yeast to 2 3/8 teaspoons and decrease the milk to 1/4 cup. The dough may take slightly longer to rise and bake.

About the author

Chef Megan Joy

6comments
Sheila - April 7, 2014

Megan – could these be made in a breadmachine? Thanks!

Reply
    Chef Megan Joy - April 9, 2014

    Sheila, I’m sure they could be. It’s been awhile since I’ve used one but I would guess just to the ingredients in the right order necessary for a bread machine. The rising time may take less than normal at altitude.

    Reply
CC - March 18, 2016

Help – I baked these this morning and while the flavor was great, they didn’t rise. I am at 5700 ft. I am sure it was bad yeast….is there any way to tell if your yeast is good before investing all the time and expense? Thanks!

Reply
    Chef Megan Joy - March 23, 2016

    Hi Cynthia, I’m sorry to hear these didn’t rise! You can check your yeast by dissolving 1 teaspoon of sugar in 1/2 cup warm water (110-115 F). Sprinkle with 1 package or 2 1/4 teaspoons of dry active yeast. Stir and let stand for 10 minutes. If it gets bubbly and foamy, it’s still good.

    Reply
Erin - March 23, 2016

I am in Denver, should I make any adjustments to the recipe?

Reply
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