This is the hot cross bun recipe handed down from my Grandma, Margaret Fulton. My Mum bakes them for the whole family every year and, for me, no other bun recipe comes close.
4 cups plain flour (I use half plain, half spelt flour)
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 sachet (7g) dry yeast powder
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups currants or sultanas
1/2 cup chopped mixed peel (optional)
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Warm white icing, for piping crosses
Sift the flour, spices and salt. Rub in the butter and stir in the sugar and dry yeast. Make a well in the sifted flour and pour in the water, milk and egg.
Mix to a soft dough and knead on a lightly floured board, until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
Lastly, knead in the fruits lightly to distribute evenly. Put into a clean, greased bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm place, until doubled in bulk (about 1 1/2 hours). Turn out onto a floured board and pat into 2cm thickness. Cut into 14 even pieces and knead each piece into a round shape.
Preheat oven to 200C. Put the buns 2.5cm apart on a greased baking tray. Cover and allow to rise (prove) in a warm place for a further 20-30 minutes. Brush with egg white and bake for about 15 minutes. Alternatively, buns may be baked packed close together in greased cake tins – these will take 20-25 minutes to cook.
For baked on crosses: mix 2 tbs cold water and 4 tbs self raising flour and beat until smooth. Place mixture into a piping bag fitted with a narrow round tube. Pipe crosses on the buns before baking. (Alternatively, you can pipe on icing crosses after buns have baked and cooled (mix 2 cups icing sugar with 1 tbs hot milk).