Have you ever noticed that the store bought hot cross buns contain tons of raisins and hardly any of that delicious fruit peel? Well I have, and set out to do something about it with help from Mary Berry and NYTimes food. No raisins in these bunnsies, just a ton of that sweet, tart, colorful mixed peel, a zap of lemon zest and an apricot glaze. These little buns scream Easter. Make them a day ahead, stick the formed buns in the fridge, and pop in in the oven on Easter morning. Everybunny will be happy.
1 packet active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
1 cup whole milk, warmed
4 tablespoons butter, in pieces and softened
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
½ teaspoon all spice
½ teaspoon salt
3-½ cups all-purpose flour
Zest from one lemon
1 cup mixed fruit and peel
Apricot jam for glazing
Whisk flour, sugar, zest, cinnamon, all spice and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough hook, turn mixer on low, add butter and mix until flour looks crumbly, add yeast, eggs, and warm milk. When dough starts to come together, add the mixed fruit and continue beating until a soft ball gathers around the hook.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth, no more than a few minutes. Return dough to a buttered bowl, cover with cling film and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
Punch down dough and divide into twelve pieces, roll into ball and place on a parchment lined baking sheet not quite touching each other. Cover and let rise again until doubled, 45mins – 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake buns for 15 minutes until lightly golden brown. Just before they are ready to come out of the oven, heat apricot jam until runny. While still hot, brush buns with jam. Let cool 15-20 minutes then devour.
Note: You can form the buns, cover and refrigerate overnight, bring to room temperature before baking. Also, if raisins are your thing, substitute some of them for a portion of the peel.