These hot cross buns are based on an award-winning recipe from the Ten o'clock Cookie Bakery in Masterston. I spent the weeks between Waitangi Day and Easter 2009 perfecting these buns. I would make them at least twice a week and take them into work for morning tea. I got really obsessive about making them even-sized so would weigh the total amount of dough then divide it by 12 and weigh out the dough for each bun, making them exactly the same size!
Anyway, I made so many of these that I had to take a break last Easter and didn't make a single batch. This Easter I decided to give them another go. Unfortunately I hadn't taken notes about the tweaks I made when perfecting them two Easters ago so felt like I was back to square one.
They turned out well in the end though not as perfect as I had remembered. The buns pictured below is batch number two. To my annoyance, by accident I used self-raising flour for batch one so made a second lot of dough. The self-raising flour ones were OK, just a little heavier.
If you don't feel like making these buns yourself and live in the lower North Island you can buy the actual Ten o'clock Cookie Bakery hot cross buns. Moore Wilson in Wellington sell them in the weeks leading up to Easter.
200g raisins or sultanas
Cover with boiling water and leave for an hour until plump.
2 tsp dried yeast
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup warm water
Combine in a small bowl leave for 10 minutes to go foamy.
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup warm water
60g butter, cubed
zest of one lemon or orange
Combine flour, salt, spices and 10g of the butter. Mix well and add the warm water (you can use the water from the soaked fruit). Knead for about five minutes until a smooth dough is formed. Add extra flour if needed.
Gradually add the remaining butter bit by bit, kneading it into the dough. At this stage I sometimes add a third of the drained dried fruit.
Leave to rest for 10 minutes then mix in the dried fruit and citrus zest. Add extra flour as necessary - you want the dough to be smooth and satin-y.
Cover with a teatowel and leave to rise for an hour or so.
Shape into 12 buns (weigh them if you want to be exact!) and leave to rise on a tray or in a shallow tin - overnight is good.
In the morning, make a paste with 1/4 cup of flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1tbsp oil and enough water to make a smooth paste (about 2-3 tbsp).
Using a piping bag, pipe cosses onto the buns then put them into the over for 20-25 mins at 190 degrees Celsius. While they are baking, prepare a glaze with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup of boiling water and stir until smooth - add a little orange zest or vanilla paste if you wish. When the buns are baked, place them onto a cooling rack and brush over the glaze.
Enjoy hot from the oven with real butter!