Hot Cross Buns Recipe

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 Updated 08/01/2016

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These buns were another speciality of the Chelsea Bun House and were famously bought by George II and George III. The Romans made crosses in festival bread and this custom is still seen in the Hot Cross Bun which is traditionally eaten on Good Friday. The shape of the bun (round) probably represented the sun and the four portions divided out by the cross may have stood for the four seasons of the year. These buns were kept and dried and were supposed to be a good cure for stomach complaints by dint of the fact that they were baked on a Holy Day.


  • 1lb (4 cups) flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 2oz (4 tablespoons) butter
  • 1oz (1 tablespoon) caster/superfine sugar
  • 3oz (3 tablespoons) mixed fruit
  • 1 dessertspoon candied peel
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 pint milk
  • 1 sachet of Hovis Fast Action Bread Yeast
  • 2oz shortcrust pastry
  • a little milk and sugar mixed for brushing
  • a little sugar syrup for glazing after baking
(see measure conversions for more information on quantites)


  1. Roll out the 2oz shortcrust pastry and make 1/2 inch pastry crosses.
  2. Put crosses to one side.
  3. Sift the flour, salt and mixed spice into a bowl.
  4. Rub in the butter and add the fruit, candied peel and sugar.
  5. Add the sachet of yeast.
  6. Warm milk to blood heat.
  7. Pour the warmed milk into the flour mixture.
  8. Stir well.
  9. Add the egg and beat well until a soft dough is formed.
  10. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise for one hour.
  11. Knead on a floured board and divide into twelve buns.
  12. Flatten tops slightly.
  13. Using a pastry brush brush the top of the buns with the milk and sugar mix.
  14. Press a pastry cross onto the top of each bun.
  15. Place on a greased baking tin and leave to prove for twenty minutes in a warm place.
  16. Bake at 200 degrees centigrade (see temperature conversions) for approx. twenty minutes.
  17. When cool, glaze with a little sugar syrup.

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 12 hot cross buns


we have updated the recipe to show how to make the cross out of shortcrust pastry. It is a bit tricky but works ok. If anyone has any tips on other ways to make the cross we would be interested to know!
#1 - mary - 03/19/2008 - 07:11
it doesnt say in the recipe how you get the really white cross that you see on the buns in the shops - is it not icing or something like that?
#0 - harry - 03/12/2008 - 17:37
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