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I’m currently on a quest to find the perfect hot cross bun recipe before Easter, so here is my first effort. The recipe is loosely based on one I found in the Waitrose magazine, and they’re pretty good. These ones are best eaten straight out of the oven. I had candied peel left over from Christmas, so I put it in, but you could just top up the difference with raisins. For my crosses, I used some off-cuts of puff pastry I had in the fridge, but traditionally you can use a paste made of a little water and flour.

450g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

½ tsp salt

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

50g caster sugar

7g sachet easy bake yeast

250ml milk

30g butter

1 orange, zest

75g raisins

50g candied peel

1 egg

2 tbsp golden syrup

Puff pastry off-cuts, or a paste of 50g flour and 5 tbspn water

Mix the bread flour, salt, spices, sugar and yeast in a large bowl.In a small pan, warm the milk and butter over a low heat until the butter is melted. Add the zest, peel and raisins and leave to cool for 2 – 3 minutes until just warm, then beat in the egg.

Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the milk mixture, stirring to make a soft dough.Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead for about 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

Form into a ball and put in a lightly oiled bowl; cover with clingfilm. Leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Tip the risen dough onto a lightly floured work surface and flatten to knock out some of the air.

Divide it into 12 pieces and roll into balls. Place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment; lightly cover with greased clingfilm. Leave to rise for about 40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200˚C and remove the clingfilm.

Add the pastry crosses or pipe on the paste in a piping bag.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Gently heat the golden syrup in a pan or microwave and brush over the warm buns. Cool a little before serving.