Hot Cross Buns with Crème Pâtissière Cross

Recipe adapted from Ima’s legendary hot cross buns:’s-hot-cross-buns


Makes: 9 large buns

For the buns

  • 425 Bread flour
  • 60g Butter, at room temperature, cubed
  • 90g Honey
  • 30g Fresh yeast
  • 250ml Milk (full fat), heated to 90°F
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cloves
  • 125g Currants
  • 65g Mixed peel

For the pastry cream crosses 

  • 1 Vanilla bean
  • 200ml Milk (full fat)
  • 25g Cornflour
  • 35g Caster sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 20g Butter

For the sugar syrup 

  • 50g Caster sugar
  • 50ml Water

How to put this together:

  1. To activate fresh yeast: crumb fresh yeast into a bowl. Mix together 100 ml warm milk + 10g honey, and add to yeast. Mix well with a fork until dissolved. Leave for 10 mins. The mixture should be very frothy. If this doesn’t become frothy, then your yeast is NOT active. Don’t continue. Get a new batch of fresh yeast and start again.
  2. In a stand mixer bowl, add flour + yeast mixture + remaining warm milk (150 ml) + remaining honey (80g) + butter. Using a paddle beater, mix on low speed until the mixture comes together.
  3. Change to dough hook, and mix on low speed (Kitchen Aid speed 1) for 10 mins.
  4. Add salt + cinnamon + nutmeg + cloves. Mix on low for a further 5 mins.
  5. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl. Roll the dough around a bit so the top is also oiled. Cover with tea towel and leave to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size (1.5 – 2 hrs)
  6. Once the dough has doubled in size, add currents + mixed peel. Knead with dough hook briefly until the fruits are evenly distributed.
  7. Divide the dough into 9 portions (about 115g each), forming each dough into a round ball. Place on a lined baking tray.
  8. Cover with tea towel and leave to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size (1 – 1.5 hrs).
  9. Make crème pâtissière: In a pot, add milk + vanilla pod and seeds (split pod in half and scrape out the seeds). Bring to boil. Take off heat.
  10. In a bowl, add cornflour + sugar + egg. Mix well into a paste.
  11. Pour 1/3 of warm milk into cornflour mix. Mix well & vigorously with a whisk.
  12. Add the mixture back into the pot with the rest of warm milk. Continue to whisk over medium heat. Keep cooking and whisking until thick.
  13. Remove from heat and cover with cling film, pressing cling film onto surface of the custard, to prevent a skin forming.
  14. Make sugar syrup: In a small pot, add sugar + water, bring to boil. Simmer for 1 min. Take off heat.
  15. Once the dough has doubled in size, preheat oven to 180°C
  16. Using a sharp knife, slash crosses on the buns.
  17. Pipe crème pâtissière into the scored lines on the buns.
  18. Bake for 20-25 mins, until buns are medium brown.
  19. Allow buns to cool for 5 mins, then brush the tops with sugar syrup
  20. Enjoy!