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Hot Cross Buns

Updated: May 19, 2019

Easter is my favorite time of year. The autumn weather is perfect - warm without the cloying heat of summer, crisp enough to truly enjoy a sweet yeast treat. Time for Hot Cross Buns!


I avoid the commercially baked ones with their preservatives, sugar and salt in amounts that I can't control. Instead I look forward to the night before Good Friday when I make up the dough and pop it in the fridge ready to knead and turn into sticky, sweet buns in the morning.


A once-a-year delicious treat to remember the most somber day in the Christian calendar - the day almost 2000 years ago when a Jewish rabbi called Jesus was crucified, willingly, with full knowledge of what he was doing, to pay for our sins... But there's a happy ending on Sunday!


Enjoy your Easter. And to my Jewish friends - rich blessings for Passover.


1 teaspoon dried yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

325 ml warm water

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

500g (3-3.5 cups) flour  (I used a 7-grain flour from the health food shop)

1 tablespoon mixed spice

1/2 cup raisins or currants


Mix yeast, sugar and half the warm water in a bowl. Stand for 5 minutes until frothy. Add salt and oil.

Place flour and mixed spice in a bowl. Stir in yeast mixture and remaining water.

Mix to a dough. Tip out on the bench and knead, adding raisins, for 5 minutes until dough is springy.

Grease a clean bowl with a little olive oil. Place dough in it and cover. Keep in fridge overnight or allow to rise in a warm place for 2 hours. (I like to keep in fridge overnight).

Knead dough again and divide into 12 pieces. Place each bun on an oven tray covered with baking paper. Cover. Let rise for 2 hours.

Make crosses: Mix flour and cold water to a thick paste. Place in a plastic bag with a tiny hole, or a piping bag if you have it, and squeeze across buns to make crosses.

Bake at 200C for 20 minutes until hollow when tapped on the base.

Glaze the buns. This really makes them taste delicious.  Mix 1 cup icing sugar and  2 teaspoons mixed spice with boiling water to make a thin glaze. Brush over buns as soon as they come out of the oven.

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BE IN TOUCH

I love to have a sweet treat in the pantry and to pop into the school lunch-box but I also want it to have some nutritional value. This week I’ve been into nut cakes – carrot cake with lots of walnuts and this moist orange almond cake. Nuts are rich in protein and healthy unsaturated fat - great for good health!

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This cake is easy to make – but you do need a food processor. It’s very high in protein from all the eggs and almonds, and it’s gluten free.

(Some baking powders are not gluten free so check the pack if you are making this cake for someone who can’t have gluten. If you dust the cake with icing sugar, as in the photo, check it is gluten free too.)

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2 oranges

6 eggs, lightly beaten

250 grams sugar

300 grams ground almonds

1 teaspoon baking powder

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Boil oranges in a little water for 1-2 hours.

Chop oranges roughly and let them cool down a bit. Then blend well in food processor with all the other ingredients. Line a large pan with grease-proof paper. Make sure the pan is large enough so the cake isn’t too thick or it will take too long to cook. Bake at 180C/350F for 1 hour – or perhaps a bit longer.

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