It took me several attempts to get this recipe to how I wanted it. After much research, testing and inspiration from recipes by Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and Cupcake Jemma, I’ve created my own version of this well-loved Easter treat. The texture is sublime – super soft and ‘puffy’ (as my sister calls it lol) with that iconic piped cross on top, lightly spiced with cinnamon and with a citrus-y kick from some orange zest.
Admittedly they take over 3 hours to make, but the end result is so worth it.
From the measured sugar, mix 1 tbsp. of it to the warm milk. Next stir in the yeast. Cover with clingfilm and set aside for 10 minutes or until the yeast mixture becomes frothy.
In a large mixing bowl, add the salt. In a separate bowl, briefly mix the flour, cinnamon and sugar together and then add to the large mixing bowl. Next, add the egg, vanilla, butter and the yeast mixture. Start to mix together slowly adding the warm water until you get a slightly sticky dough – you may not need to use all the water.
Turn the dough mix onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes until you have a smooth and elastic dough. Alternatively, you can use a stand mix fitted with a dough hook attachment.
Once kneaded, place the dough in a large, lightly grease bowl. Buch the dough with a little oil, tightly cover the bowl with clingfilm and set aside to rise for 90 minutes.
After 90 minutes, fold in the sultanas and orange zest with your hand into the dough making sure they are evenly dispersed whilst gently knocking the air bubbles in the dough. Lightly brush the top with oil, tightly cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for 60 minutes.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, then divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll into balls and place on a baking tray (lined with baking paper) about 1 inch apart.
Make the egg wash by whisking the ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops ad sides of the dough balls. Lightly cover with clingfilm and set aside for 30 minutes to proof for a third time.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. With 5 minutes left of the dough proving, make the paste by combining all the ingredients but slowly poor in the water whilst stirring a little at a time to get thick consistency. The paste should have a ribbon effect when dripping from a spoon/spatula and shouldn’t be runny like a thin batter.
Use a piping bag fitted with a No. 12 Wilton piping nozzle or cut a pea-sized hole on the tip of the piping. Add the piping to the piping bag, gently squeeze it down to the nozzle, twist the piping bag and then apply pressure to pipe the crosses on top of the buns.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes in the centre of the oven.
Prepare the glaze by heating the ingredients over a low-medium heat. Be careful not to burn it!
Once the buns have finished baking, remove from the oven and place the tray on a wired rack. Generously brush the glaze on top and sides of the hot buns. Serve warm with jam and butter. Enjoy!