Hot cross buns aren’t unique to Bermuda, as they’re a Good Friday and Easter-time treat all over the world. With that said, I don’t think anyone could argue that a warm hot cross bun with a delicious codfish cake between the two halves on a Good Friday afternoon in Bermuda – well, it just doesn’t get better than that!
Here’s a recipe for making the very best hot cross buns. If this recipe doesn’t make your mouth water, we don’t know what will!
For the Buns
2 ½ lbs flour or 10 cups
3 oz brown sugar (6tbs)
¾ oz dry yeast (3 packets)
3 cups warm water
5 cups unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 tbs cinnamon
½ tbs allspice
½ tsp salt
1 lb raisins
For the Cross
1 cup water
1 cup flour
½ tsp salt
For the Glaze
2 ½ cups sugar
1 ¼ cups water
¾ cup white corn syrup
Mix together the yeast, water and sugar and set aside a few minutes until the yeast starts to foam.
Mix together the flour, spices and salt.
With a mixer, or by hand, mix in the flour, butter and eggs into the yeast-water mixture.
Now add the raisins. The dough will be somewhat sticky but should pull away from the sides of the bowl and form a ball. If not, add a little more flour. Cover with a towel and let it rest in a warm place until it doubles in bulk. (Be sure it is in a bowl large enough to accommodate its new size).
Punch down the dough and cut into small 2 ¼ ounce pieces. Roll into a ball and place on a baking sheet several inches apart. When all are lined up cover again with a towel and put in a warm place away from draughts and allow to rise 15-20 minutes. You will need more than one baking sheet.
Preheat the oven to 400˚.
While you are waiting make the “crosses”.
Mix together the flour, water and salt so that it is thick enough to pipe through a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip about an eighth of an inch in diameter. Pipe a cross on each risen bun.
Bake at 400˚ for about 15 – 20 minutes or until golden.
While they are baking, you may make the glaze by boiling together the sugar, water and corn syrup over a moderate heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. When it looks clear, brush down the sides with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Raise the heat and bring to a boil for about 5 minutes. Allow it to cool. It will be sticky but still “brushable”.
When the buns emerge from the oven cool on rack and brush with the glaze.