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(C) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

Easter is just around the corner and the Lent period will be over, however, although chocolate and all things nice are not really supposed to be eaten until Easter Sunday. On Good Friday though it is traditional to eat Hot Cross Buns.  They are not difficult to make but as with any ‘bread’ based product they need time to rise, fortunately only once with this recipe.

Oven 425 F.  220 C,  Gas mark 7

1 lb 4 oz Strong White or brown bread flour
2 heaped tsp mixed spice (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 oz butter
8 oz mixed dried fruits
2 oz caster sugar
One 7 g sachet of dried easy blend yeast
6 1/2 fluid ounces milk
2 eggs

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(C) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

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(C) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

Place the flour, salt, mixed spice (if using) and sugar into a bowl. Rub in the butter and then stir in the dried fruits. I used cherries, raisins, sultanas and candied peel.  Sprinkle the yeast over and stir in. Gently warm the milk until it is tepid and beat the eggs into this. Make a small well in the flour and pour in the milk/egg mixture and mix to a soft dough. Leave this for five mins. Meanwhile prepare your baking sheets by lining with baking parchment. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and divide into 8, or if you want smaller buns, 16. knead slightly and make into a bun shape and put onto your baking sheets with plenty of room for expansion.  Cover loosely with oiled cling film and leave somewhere warm for about 45 mins to 1 hour. They should have increased in size. Either make a cross with a sharp knife on top or make a flour and water paste and pipe a cross on top or if you are really ambitious use some pastry to make the cross but only if you have some handy! Bake for 12-15 mins until well risen and golden. Leave to cool and then warm a little honey or golden syrup and brush the the tops. They will keep fresh for a day but they are best eaten quickly or toasted.  Enjoy with butter, jam, honey or cheese and a nice cup of tea.

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