The trick to the best hot cross bun is making sure your spices are nice and fresh - always buy perishable items from good suppliers who turn their stock frequently. There are so many little spice shops to choose from - and I'm always impressed with the variety you get from each. Try finding bing cherries. They're large, dark and firm - perfect for cooking - but not always available. If you spot them at your grocer, pick some up quick. If you want to add a little variation to the classic hot cross bun - add a little grated kumara to the mix along with the fruit peel.
600g baker's flour
20g dried yeast
50g milk powder
25g mixed spice
60g bing cherries (optional)
40g mixed peel
10g ground ginger
Crossing mix ingredients:
3 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp water
1 Mix all dry ingredients in an electric mixing bowl. Add the butter and water and mix on slow speed for two minutes until the dough starts to form. Once formed, change the speed to second or medium and mix for a further six minutes. Add the fruit and mixed peel and mix for a further two minutes until all the fruit is combined.
2 When mixed, remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured bench. Scale the dough into 120g pieces then round into tight balls. Place on a lightly greased pan with high sides, leaving a gap about half the size of each bun between them on the tray. Cover loosely with cling film and place in a warm place, allowing them to double in size.
3 Preheat your oven to 200C on fan bake.
4 Mix the crossing ingredients together. Once the buns have doubled in size, use a piping bag to cross the tops of the buns with the mix and place in your preheated oven. Drop the temperature to 180C and bake for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.
5 Serve hot with salted butter.By Sean Armstrong