Back to basics to bake an Easter classic

Helen Keown


Helen Keown

Back to basics to bake an Easter classic

Gingergirl's fail-safe recipe for hot cross buns always rises to the occasion

Hello and welcome to all about food. This week’s column has a suitably Easter theme. I am not a big fan of Easter Eggs (perhaps I am alone on this) but put a plate of warm Hot Cross Buns in front of me and I become somewhat possessed! Happy Easter everyone!

Ask Gingergirl

Dear Gingergirl,

I’m determined to make Hot Cross Buns! I say it every year but I never actually get around to it! Could you send me a fail-safe recipe please!


Maura, Co. Limerick.

Hi Maura,

This recipe is lovely, not too sweet and as they don’t have candied peel in them there are even more likely to be loved by all (mixed peel can receive mixed reviews from my family!).

Hot Cross Buns!

450g strong white flour

2 x 7g sachets dried yeast

50g caster sugar

150ml warm milk

1 egg

50g butter

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp mixed spice

¼ tsp nutmeg

100g sultanas

50g tbsp plain flour

50g granulated sugar

Put the flour, yeast, caster sugar and one teaspoon of salt into a large mixing bowl along with the cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg and sultanas, mix well. Make a hollow in the centre and pour in the warmed milk, fifty ml warm water, the beaten egg and the melted butter. Mix together to form dough - start with a wooden spoon and finish with your hands. If the dough is too dry, add a little more warm water.

Knead in the bowl until the dough becomes smooth and springy. Transfer to a clean, lightly greased bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place (I find a hot press is perfect) to rise until doubled in size - this will take about one to one and a half hours.

Tip the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for a literally one minute, then divide into twelve even portions. You can do this by cutting the dough as you would when making pizza, or roll it out into a sausage shape and cut it then. Shape each portion into a smooth round and place onto a baking sheet greased with butter. Make sure you leave a little space between each bun to allow for rising.

Use a small knife to score a cross on the top of each bun, then cover with the damp tea towel again and prove for another half hour (again somewhere warm) until almost doubled in size again. Heat your oven to 200ºC.

When the buns are ready to bake, mix the plain flour with just enough water to give you a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe a cross into the crosses you cut earlier on the buns. Bake for twelve to fifteen minutes, or until the buns are golden and sound hollow when you tap their bottoms! While still warm, melt the granulated sugar with a tablespoon of water and brush over the buns to create a nice glaze.

Contact Gingergirl


Gingergirl aka Helen Keown is an artisan food producer who produces a range of handmade luxury jams, preserves and chutney’s made from local, seasonal or organic ingredients. Helen’s produce is available nationwide from independent food emporiums and is also available at selected food delis across Europe.

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