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Hot Cross Buns with Dried Cherries

Nutmeg-scented hot cross buns are studded with dried cherries and golden raisins. Traditionally served on Good Friday, these yeast-risen buns are delicious before an egg hunt or with a cup of hot tea.

  • Yield: Makes 30
Hot Cross Buns with Dried Cherries

Source: Martha Stewart Living, April 2009

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 ounce (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for bowl and baking sheet
  • Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 4 ounces (3/4 cup) dried cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces (3/4 cup) golden raisins, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Heat 1 cup milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until it registers 110 degrees on a candy thermometer. Pour milk into a mixer bowl, and fit mixer with a dough hook. With mixer on low speed, add granulated sugar, yeast, butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, the nutmeg, cinnamon, and eggs. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, and knead until mixture comes together in a soft, sticky dough. Continue kneading, scraping down hook as needed, until dough is smooth, about 4 minutes.

  2. Add cherries and raisins, and knead to incorporate. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead to distribute dried fruit. Coat a large bowl with butter. Shape dough into a ball, and place in prepared bowl. Cover with a piece of plastic, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  3. Generously butter a rimmed baking sheet. Turn dough onto a surface, knead briefly, then divide into 3 pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, divide each third into 10 pieces, and shape each into a tight ball. (Keep dough covered with plastic.) Place on prepared sheet, spacing 1/2 inch apart. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover with plastic, and let rise in a warm spot until buns have doubled in size and are touching, about 1 hour.

  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together egg white and water in a small bowl. Brush tops of buns with egg-white wash. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool on sheet on wire rack for 30 minutes.

  5. Whisk together remaining 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons milk, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Spoon icing into a pastry bag fitted with a plain 1/4-inch round tip, and pipe icing on buns in the shape of a cross. (Alternatively, spoon glaze on buns.) Serve immediately.

Cook's Note

These buns are best eaten the day they are made; if you make them the day before, don't pipe the icing across on the tops. Instead, warm the buns the next day in a 300-degree oven, let cool, and then decorate right before serving.

Reviews (3)

  • amarsh83 8 Apr, 2009

    Martha, you mentioned during the show that there are no eggs in the recipe (therefore making it okay to eat for Lent). However, the recipe calls for eggs - you also add eggs to the recipe. I will have to do some research on Lent as I'm curious to know. Just thought I'd share my inquiry. Love the show and watch each day.

  • anniequinn 3 Apr, 2009

    step 1 mentions 1 1/2 ts salt.

  • dundeegal2 29 Mar, 2009

    This recipe does not work. No measurment for salt and all the dried fruit should be soaked prior to using as these buns were like hockey pucks.

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