One a penny, two a penny,
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons;
One a penny, two a penny,
It’s that time of the year again and I’m thrown back to my childhood when I used to sing this song Lenten season or otherwise. It heralds in Easter and bids farewell to lent. These crossed buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday world over.
I have fond memories of trotting down to the local bakery hand in hand with my father and buying a dozen sticky-warm-spiced buns. It would be served at evening tea to end the Lenten fast. I love to have my hot-cross buns toasted and slathered in salty butter.
Over the years I’ve made many a hot-cross bun recipe, but this one adapted from the BBC Good Food magazine is my favourite till date. It has a zesty twist with marzipan layers and pairs well with a good dollop of lemon curd on the side. Happy baking and happy Easter to you.
250ml full-fat milk
Zest of 2 lemons
50g butter, cubed
500g white flour, plus 140g for the crosses and extra for dusting
½ tsp ground cinnamon
100g caster sugar
7g sachet dried yeast
2 eggs, 1 beaten and 1 egg to glaze
Vegetable oil or sunflower oil, for greasing
100g marzipan, chilled
100g mixed dried fruit
1 tbsp lemon curd, to glaze, plus extra to serve
Butter, to serve
- Warm the milk and lemon zest in a small pan until steaming. Remove from the heat and add the butter, swirling the pan until the butter melts and the milk has cooled slightly.
- Mix the flour, cinnamon, sugar, yeast and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl. Pour in the milk mixture and the beaten egg, and combine with a wooden spoon until the mixture clumps together. Tip out onto your work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 mins – the dough should bounce back when pressed with your finger. Transfer to a clean oiled bowl, cover with cling film or a tea towel and leave to rise until doubled in size.
- Dust a baking tray with flour. Tip the dough onto the work surface and knead again to knock out any air bubbles. Roll the dough into a rectangle. Grate the marzipan straight onto the dough, covering the whole surface. Scatter over the dried fruit. Roll up the dough into a tight roll. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 12 equal pieces, then lightly roll each piece into a smooth ball. Arrange the balls on the tray, smooth-side up, leaving a small gap between each one. Cover loosely with a piece of oiled cling film and leave somewhere warm to prove for 1 hr or until almost doubled in size – the buns should be just touching.
- Heat oven to 180C. Brush the buns with the beaten egg. Mix the 140g flour with enough water to make a thick, smooth paste, then transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle (or use a sandwich bag and snip off one corner). Use the paste to pipe crosses over the buns. Bake for 25 mins until deep golden brown and cooked through.
- Take the hot buns out of the oven. Now for the sticky glaze. Mix the lemon curd with 1-2 tsp water to loosen it a little, then brush over the top of the buns. Leave to cool for 10 mins on the baking tray. Serve warm or toasted, with butter and lemon curd. Will keep for up to 3 days in a box or freeze for up to 2 months.
You could also go the extra step and make your own lemon curd like I did or buy it from a shop. All ingredients are easily available in a Migros or Coop. I used the green marzipan from Migros and the mixed candied fruit for a touch of spring hue.