I decided to make a brioche version of Hot Cross Buns because my daughters repeatedly asked me to. These Brioche Hot Cross Buns are rich and buttery and packed with fruit, perfect with a cuppa or lightly toasted and smothered with butter and eaten for breakfast.
Now I do like Brioche but it is a right faff to make and most recipes take an age and require overnight chilling of the dough in the fridge. I don't have the time for that faff so I used my speedier version.
Brioche Hot Cross Buns
450g strong white bread flour
50g caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
100g unsalted butter,diced
90 ml warm water
7g sachet active yeast
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 medium free-range eggs
200g dried fruit, we used seedless raisins
Put the flour, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre.
Add the yeast to the water then whisk in the eggs and vanilla bean paste. Pour this mixture into the flour and mix until a rough dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough for 10 – 15 minutes by hand, or knead for 7 – 10 minutes in a stand mixer with a dough hook, until it becomes soft and elastic.
Put the kneaded dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with cling film then leave dough to prove until doubled in size.
Once risen, remove the dough from the bowl and knock it back to its original size. Knead in the dried fruit until evenly distributed throughout the dough. Divide the mixture into 12 portions and shape each into a ball.
Grease a 12 hole muffin tin and place a dough ball into each hole. Cover with creased clingfilm and leave to prove again in a warm place for 45 minutes. Whilst the buns are rising, preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4. Remove the cling film then carefully pipe a cross onto the top of each of the buns.
Top the Hot Cross Buns with crosses made by combining:
1/4 cup/40g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 Tblsp butter
2 or 3 Tblsp of water
I make the crosses mixture whilst the buns are rising. Mix the butter with some hot water so that it melts and combines. Leave for about 10 minutes to cool and then mix into the flour and baking powder.
The mixture needs to be soft enough to be piped but not too runny, add a little extra flour or water to if necessary to get a good consistency. If you haven't got a piping bag, put the mixture into a plastic bag, squeeze it down to one corner then snip a tiny bit off the corner of the bag. Squeeze the mix through the hole making crosses on the top of each bun.
Bake the buns in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Leave the swirls in the tin until cool enough to handle then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.