You’ve devoured whole packages of Peeps and decorated scores of eggs — so what’s your next Easter tradition to embrace?
Making hot cross buns, the spicy-sweet treat studded with dried fruit, topped with white icing and often served on Good Friday.
These delectable dough boys aren’t your average baked good: Their history dates back to the Middle Ages, when a 12th-century monk baked the pastry in the days before Easter with a cross design that represented the crucifixion of Christ.
If you believe the myths, the cinnamon- and nutmeg-flavored buns aren’t just mouthwateringly delicious, but powerful, too. Bake a batch on Good Friday and they won’t get moldy for a year. Even better: Hang one in your kitchen and you’ll ward off evil spirits. (While, possibly, attracting flies.)
This version, from MyRecipes.com, deviates from tradition by using plump currants instead of raisins and topping the buns with a powdered-sugar glaze sweetened with orange and lemon juices.
They’re so good, you’ll want to make them year-round!
Orange Hot Cross Buns
¾ cup warm (100° to 110°F) whole milk
4½ tsp. (2 packages) active dry yeast
1 large egg, plus 2 tbsp. beaten egg
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup butter, melted and cooled
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
½ tsp. cinnamon
Finely shredded zest of 1 large orange
About 3 cups flour
½ cup chopped candied orange peel
¼ cup dried currants
2 tsp. fresh orange juice
2 tsp. fresh Meyer lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar
1. In a bowl of a stand mixer, combine milk and yeast; let stand until yeast softens, 5-10 minutes. Add whole egg, granulated sugar, butter, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and orange zest. Beat on medium speed with dough hook until blended.
2. Blend in 2¾ cups flour. Beat on medium speed until dough is smooth and stretchy, 10-12 minutes. Add just enough flour (about ¼ cup) so dough is only slightly tacky. Add orange peel and currants, pick up dough and mix with your hands to distribute fruit. Return dough to bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1¼ hours.
3. Punch down dough. With floured hands, shape into 16 smooth rounds. Evenly space rounds in 2 buttered 8- or 9-in. square pans.
4. Cover loosely and let rise in a warm place until doubled and puffy, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
5. Brush buns with beaten egg. Bake until deep golden, 13-15 minutes. Let cool in pans at least 30 minutes.
6. In a small bowl, stir together juices and powdered sugar until smooth. Spoon into a small, heavy-gauge plastic bag, snip a hole in a corner and squeeze icing onto buns to form large Xs.