Starring Hollywood Hot Cross Buns

The long bank holiday weekend gives you the perfect opportunity to have a go at those recipes that you’ve been thinking about trying for a while, but haven’t quite had the time to get yourself organised enough to get the ingredients in as well as have the time to actually bake them. I haven’t done much baking in the bread department and with Easter upon us, I decided I needed to rectify this.

Paul Hollywood has been getting increasing amounts of air time (not that I’m complaining) and whilst I know he makes baking bread look far easier than it probably is, I felt confident enough to take a stab at making hot cross buns after watching him show me how.

I personally think it’s a shame that hot cross buns are only around for such a short time as they are such a delight to eat. It’s like Cadburys Mini Eggs (I prefer the mini eggs to the cream eggs), they should just be around whenever you fancy them.

The smell of a hot cross bun is so distinctive with the cinnamon and all spice, that you don’t even have to be in the same room to know exactly what’s about to be served up. The golden brown exterior pulls apart to show a fluffy interior dotted with raisins and dried fruits. I like to grill or toast mine and spread them with a thick layer of butter… controversially I’m not averse to adding some marmite too!

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I’ve only baked bread a couple of times in the past and whilst mixing and kneading the ingredients isn’t particularly time consuming, waiting for the bread to prove is a slow process. The best thing though is that you can just leave the yeast to ‘do its thing’ whilst you get on with your day feeling safe in the knowledge that when you come back, you’ll have a beautiful dough bulging in the bowl.

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I followed Paul Hollywood’s hot cross bun recipe and I’d watched the British Bake Off Easter Special programme so I’d done my research!

The only changes I made to the recipe was that my online shop substituted mixed peel for dried mixed fruits, so I added a total of 125g of dried mixed fruits (i.e. sultanas, apricots, dates etc) and I added a bit extra cinnamon (because I just love it!) and ½ tsp of all spice.

Other than that, I attempted to follow Mr Hollywood to the letter.

I oddly found making the buns into smooth round balls rather more challenging than I was expecting! And making the cross look remotely neat and tidy was quite tricky too… especially when the piping bag nozzle exploded so that one bun just got a big splodge on the top!

I have to say though.. for a first attempt I was quite chuffed with myself.
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They looked ‘sort of’ like hot cross buns, but they definitely tasted like hot cross buns, which in my opinion is the important thing.
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I did make a large batch and whilst Will and I got through about half (I ate 6 in a day!), there are a few left which is a bonus in this instance because if we don’t finish them before they go a bit stale, it means I’ll be making hot cross bun bread and butter pudding at the end of the week.
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