In this updated version of the traditional Easter hot cross bun, chunks of dark chocolate and tart dried cherries make these even more irresistible! This recipe is from BakeClass by Anneka Manning (Murdoch Books) with photography by Alan Benson’
750g (5 cups) bread or pizza flour
55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
14g (2 sachets) instant dried yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
150g (1 cup) dried cherries (see Baker’s tips)
75g (1/2 cup) currants
435ml (1 3/4 cups) milk
60g butter, cubed, plus extra, to grease and serve
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract or essence
100 g (2/3 cup) chopped good-quality dark chocolate
75g (1/2 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
55g (1/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
2 tablespoons water
1. Put the bread flour, sugar, yeast, mixed spice, cinnamon, salt dried cherries and currants in a the bowl of a Stand Mixer with a dough hook. Mix to combine.
2. Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter has just melted and the milk is lukewarm. Whisk one of the eggs with the vanilla and add to the milk mixture. Whisk to combine. Transfer to a jug. With the motor on low speed, add to the dry ingredients and mix to a soft dough.
3. Knead on low (no higher than speed 2) for 6-8 minutes or until the sides of the bowl are clean, the dough gathers around the dough hook and it is smooth and elastic. Lightly grease a clean large bowl with a little butter, add the dough and turn to coat the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
4. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Punch the centre of the dough down with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured bench top. Knead for 2–3 minutes or until smooth. Knead in the chocolate. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and place on the tray, allowing room for spreading. Cover with a damp tea towel (dish towel) and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
5. Preheat the oven to 180°C or 160°C fan-forced. Meanwhile, make the Flour paste. Combine the flour and water in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Spoon into a small plastic bag.
6. Whisk the remaining egg and brush the tops of the buns with it. Snip a small hole in the corner of the plastic bag containing the Flour paste and pipe crosses on the buns.
7. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the buns are cooked and sound hollow when tapped on the base.
8. Meanwhile, make the Glaze. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and simmer for 1 minute. Transfer the hot cross buns to a wire rack and brush the tops with the glaze. Serve warm, spread with butter.
Preparation time: 25 minutes (+ 1½ hours proving time)
Baking time: 25 minutes
Dried cherries are available at selected supermarkets, delicatessens, grocery shops and specialty food stores. You can replace them with good-quality dried cranberries.
These hot cross buns are best eaten the day they are made. To freeze for up to 3 months, wrap in plastic wrap and seal in an airtight container. Thaw at room temperature.
Anneka Manning is a baking teacher, food author and the founder of BakeClub. With over 27 years of experience, she specializes in teaching not only the “how” but also the “why” of baking. Through her unique 6-month Make Me a Baker program, hands-on BakeClasses, online resources and her writing, Anneka teaches home cooks to bake in practical and approachable, yet inspiring, ways.
Don’t miss what’s coming out of her oven via Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter or by becoming a member of BakeClub.