CRANBERRY & PISTACHIO HOT CROSS BUNS

The majority of us are currently in some sort of confinement or self-isolation, and probably going a bit stir crazy already (I know, it’s only day 4!). I’m in London with Clive in our flat…he’s a couple of meters away on a work video call. I’m sitting on the sofa writing this post and trying to steady my tea intake to avoid having to walk through his video call to get to the bathroom. It’s a strange, strange situation, isn’t it?

While I do still have quite a lot of design work and paperwork to be getting on with, I’m not used to sitting in front of the computer all day so I’ve set myself a little objective of doing at least one creative thing every day. So, I made a batch of cranberry, orange and pistachio hot cross buns and they were delicious! The shelves are empty, queues at the supermarkets are hours long, and we happen to have a cupboard full of bread flour that I could dip into and make something that filled the flat with the best smells and made staying in a whole lot more bearable.

You could swap the dried fruit out for whatever you’ve got in the cupboard, and if you don’t have milk, warm water works well too. And if you have any other questions about how you could adapt the recipe, feel free to DM me on Instagram or leave me a comment below and I’ll get back to you.

Here’s what you need to make your own homemade hot cross buns:

Ingredients for the buns:

  • 500g strong white bread flour (farine de tresse works well if you’re in Switzerland)
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • zest 1 orange
  • 2 teaspoons salt flakes
  • 10g active dried yeast
  • 40g melted butter
  • 300ml milk, just slightly warmed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 120g pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 150g dried cranberries, roughly chopped

Ingredients for the cross paste :

  • 75g flour
  • 100ml water

Ingredients for the crumble topping:

  • 35g strong white bread flour
  • 25g butter, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • A pinch of salt

Ingredients for the topping:

  • 3-4 tablespoons apricot jam, warmed

Instructions to make 12 cranberry, orange and pistachio hot cross buns:

  • To make the dough place the flour, sugar, spices and orange zest in your mixer bowl. Place the yeast on one side of the bowl and the salt on the other. Add the beaten egg, melted butter and lightly warmed milk. Use the dough hook attachment to knead the dough. The dough should be quite sticky. When all combined together, add the cranberries and pistachios and knead for 8-10 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm, and leave to rise in a warm place for 1.5-2 hours.
  • To get perfectly even buns, weigh the dough and divide by 12. My dough was just under 1300g so each bun was going to be slightly under 110g. When you have 12 buns of equal weight, roll them into buns. Place them on a baking tray covered with baking parchment about 2cm apart. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise another hour.
  • In the meantime, make the crumble topping by rubbing butter and sugar together using your fingertips to make a light breadcrumb texture. Add sugar and mix well. Place on a separate baking tray.
  • For the paste for the cross, whisk flour and water together and place in a piping bag with a 5mm nozzle. When the buns have risen and are touching, pipe a cross over each bun. The paste is fairly runny. The best thing to do is to pull it over all the buns in one direction and then do the same in the other.
  • Heat your oven to 170°C and bake the buns for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Bake the crumble in the same oven for the last 15 minutes and then remove and allow to cool. Warm your jam in a small saucepan and brush a generous layer over the buns. Top with a dusting of the baked crumble mix and serve.

Tips & tricks:

  • It may feel like you have way too many cranberries and pistachios but trust me, it takes quite a lot to get a rich bun with flavour in every mouthful.
  • I’ve been limiting the use of clingfilm in general but I do find that using a damp towel doesn’t work quite as well, so I’d really recommend using either clingfilm or a beeswax wrap for this.
  • You can freeze cooked buns if you’ve made too many. I’d recommend freezing them when they have cooled on the day you made them so they stay fresh.

There’s probably no better time to make a recipe like this if you do have the ingredients at home. You can do one of stages and then go off and get some work done while the dough rises. It’s a nice way to break up the work day actually.

The buns keep well for a few days and are even better toasted with butter and jam. If you’ve got too many, place them in your hallway and share them with your neighbours with a little note wishing them well. I have no doubt it’ll put a smile on their faces.

I hope you and your families are all ok. Sending lots of love and virtual love your way. I’ll be posting lots of stories with other creative things I get up to so make sure to follow along on Instagram.

Take care and big bisous xS