A little twist on the classic Easter hot cross bun, this glossy batch-bake is also good news for those who are not a fan of dried fruit…
This recipe allows for a double rise of the dough but, if you don’t have that much time, you can just stick to the one. Perfect with a cup of tea after an Easter Sunday walk.
550g strong white flour
200ml milk (lukewarm)
50g unsalted butter (room temperature)
50g caster sugar
1 large egg
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp ‘easy bake’ yeast
For the filling:
2 conference pears
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1-2 tsp ground all spice
Stem ginger in syrup
For the cross:
3 heaped tbsps plain four
In a large mixing bowl, sift the strong white flour adding the caster sugar, cinnamon, all spice, ground ginger, salt and yeast together before making a well in the middle. Drop in the egg, softened butter and add the milk, which must be warm enough to activate the yeast, and knead. A stand mixer with a dough hook can be used but you can, of course, just use your hands!
The dough should stretch when it’s ready, and leave the mixing bowl clean at the edges. In a stand mixer, this takes about 10 minutes on a medium speed. Pop the kneaded dough into a large bowl and cover with cling for an hour.
Whilst the dough is left to rise, peel your pears, halve and remove the stalk and any seeds. Conference pears are quite firm, so ideal for baking. Dice into sultana-sized pieces, sprinkle with cinnamon and pop in the oven on 180 degrees for 15 minutes initially. Check in every additional five minutes, stirring if needed, until the pear is soft. Take out of the oven and place aside to cool. Using two pieces of the stem ginger, finely dice and mix with the spiced pear.
When the dough has finished its first rise, tip out of the bowl onto a flat, pre-floured surface. Gradually knead in the pear and stem ginger pieces, ensuring even distribution. If the dough is too wet, continue kneading but add more flour as needed. Pop back into your mixing bowl for a second rise, again covering the bowl with cling and leaving for around an hour. (You can skip this step if you’d rather just raise the once).
The dough should grow to around twice in size before it’s ready to divide. Cut into eight equal sections and roll each into a ball, gently pressing the top to form a bun shape. On parchment paper, line up the buns around half an inch apart. This is a batch-bake, so the edges should just meet whilst baking.
In a measuring jug, mix your plain flour and water into a smooth paste and put into a piping bag with a small round nozzle. Pipe a horizontal line across the buns and then again, vertically, to create a cross on each.
Turn up the oven to around 190 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the buns sounds hollow when tapped with a knife. Set aside.
Whilst cooling, use a pastry brush to glaze the buns with a bit of diluted honey or sugar syrup.
These are delicious freshly made and warm from the oven but equally good a few days later, toasted and generously topped with butter!
© All photography and views expressed in this blog are my own. For more information, and for details of my editorial policy, please see my blog disclaimer.