Cardamom & Marzipan Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns are delicious for breakfast on Good Friday and over the Easter weekend - this is my favourite recipe.  The cardamom is really delicious and the marzipan adds just the right amount of sweetness.  Do give it a try - I promise you won't be disappointed!  The buns can be made the evening before and left overnight in the fridge (covered with a polythene bag on their baking tray) where they will rise slowly.  Bring back to room temperature for an hour, brush with egg & milk before adding the crosses and baking.

INGREDIENTS

450 g strong plain flour

2 tsp dried yeast

120 g caster sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cardamom or the crushed seeds of 6 green cardamom pods

1/4 nutmeg, finely grated

55 g butter, melted plus extra for greasing

1 medium egg, beaten

55 g candied peel (omit if you prefer & add 55 g more raisins or even dried cranberries)

85 g raisins or sultanas

250 ml milk, warmed plus a little extra

250 g marzipan (you will have plenty spare - save for your Simnel Cake)

This recipe can be made by hand or in a bread machine.  Either way, make the dough, leave to rise, and then add the fruit by hand before leaving to rise again and baking:

To make the dough add the flour, yeast, 2 tsp of the sugar, the melted butter, egg and milk and spices to a bowl & mix to form a smooth dough.  If making by hand kneed for 5-10 minutes and then cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.  If using a bread machine simply add the dough ingredients as above & select the dough setting.

When the dough has risen tip onto a lightly floured surface and add the dried fruit & candied peel if using.  Knead again until all of the fruit is incorporated into the dough.

Divide the dough into equal 16 pieces and round each into a ball.  Please on a greased baking sheet, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise again for 30-40 minutes.

Whilst the buns are rising, make the crosses.  Roll the marzipan into a rectangle approx 3 mm thick.  Brush the buns with beaten egg & milk before cutting the marzipan into narrow strips and using it to form a cross on each bun.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (160 degrees for a fan oven) and bake the buns for 15-20 minutes until golden.  Do keep an eye on them and cover them with baking parchment if they start to brown too quickly.

Serve hot from with oven on Easter Day with butter and jam if liked.  The buns make a wonderful breakfast & will keep for several days in a zip lock bag in the bread bin.  Simply pop in the oven to reheat for 5 minutes before serving.  They can also be made ahead and frozen.

Happy Easter!

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Cardamom & Marzipan Hot Cross Buns served on our White Stoneware Serving Platter

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