Monday, 28 March 2016


So Easter has been and gone for another year. I know Easter is a religious festival but for a foodie like me, one of the most exciting aspects of the holiday is the traditional Easter food, my favorite being the hot cross bun. This year, after baking a rather awful first batch of buns on Good Friday I decided to mix it up and came up with a new take on this classic by turning it into a fruit loaf, adding some Amaretto soaked sultanas just for a little naughty adult twist and finishing it off with that symbolic cross.

Now with recipes such as this one that involve using yeast I highly advise you do not mess around with the type of ingredients or quantities of any of them or you risk knocking of the balance of the recipe and your loaves might not turn out as well as they should. The only thing I will say is that if you don't want to put any alcohol in your loaves then replace the Amaretto with the juice of some oranges instead just to keep those sultana's juicy and plump.

The recipe below will make two 1lb hot cross bun loaves so make sure you have two 1lb loaf tin's ready to go. This is a mighty fine fruit loaf recipe so if you want to make it, even when it's not Easter, you can forgo the addition of the cross and just make yourself a yummy tea loaf perfect for elevenses all year round;

Boozy Hot Cross Bun Loaf

250g Sultanas
2 Tbsp Amaretto
250g Strong White Bread Flour
275g Plain Flour
2 Tsp Mixed Spice
Pinch Of Salt
75g Golden Caster Sugar
250ml Semi Skimmed Milk
50g Butter
1 Large Beaten Egg
7g Dried Active Yeast
1/2 Tsp Sunflower Oil
1 Tbsp Icing Sugar
1 Tbsp Marmalade

  1. Start your boozy hot cross bun loaf process off by soaking the sultanas in the Amaretto for at least 10 minutes. Mix together the two flours (reserve 25g of plain flour for your crosses), mixed spice, salt and caster sugar in a large bowl and leave to one side.
  2. In a saucepan on a low heat, pour in the milk and add in the butter and heat until the butter has melted and the milk is lukewarm (around 35 degrees Celsius if you have a cooking thermometer). 
  3. Add the milk mixture and the beaten egg along with the yeastand the soaked sultana's to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix everything together until well combined and the dough comes together into a slightly sticky dough ball.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel or loose clingfilm. Leave for roughly 1 hour until the dough has doubled in size. Grease your two 1lb loaf tins ready for later.
  5. Once doubled in size, turn the dough back out onto the floured surface and knead for a minute until smooth again and then divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (I found this to be around 100g per piece).
  6. Take a piece of dough and quickly knead and shape into a bun and then pop the dough into one of the loaf tins. Repeat with all the dough pieces until you have six bun shaped dough balls in each of the loaf tins (see picture to the right). Cover again with a tea towel or loose cling film and leave for another hour until the dough has doubled in size once again.
  7. Once the dough has risen pop your oven on to 200 degrees(180 fan) and mix together the reserved 25g plain flour, sunflower oil and icing sugar to form a smooth paste and place this in a piping bag before piping your crosses over the top of the loaves. Place both the loaves on the middle shelf of your oven and bake for 30 minutes. Check the loaves after 15 minutes and if they are browning to fast, cover them with foil to prevent the tops from burning.
  8. Gently heat the marmalade on a low heat in a saucepan until it loosens and becomes more easy to spread. Once the buns are baked, remove them from the oven and immediately brush the top with the loosened marmalade to glaze.
Leave the loaves to cool slightly before removing them from the tins. They should be baked but you can check this by tapping the base of the loaves and you should hear a hollow sound. Leave the loaves to cool completely and then cut yourself a big slice or two. It is the law that you have to toast a hot cross bun so pop your slices of hot cross bun loaf in the toaster or under the grill before slathering with butter so it goes all melty and soaks into the bread. Now take a bite, get that boozy hit from the sultanas and let the buttery crumbs melt in your mouth. This adult take on a Easter classic is so good you're going to want to eat everyday of the year!

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