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Hot cross buns: Easter recipe shared by Bouchon Bakery

Traditionally eaten two days before Easter on Good Friday, the hot cross bun has its roots in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Superstition says if you share a hot cross bun with another person, friendship and goodwill are ensured for the following year.

But all that aside, the sweet buns are delicious and a treat to look forward to come spring.

We visited Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery where pastry chef and Director of Bouchon Bakery Alessandra Altieri showed us how to make them at home!

The recipe is adapted from the cookbook "Bouchon Bakery" by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel.

Brioche dough ingredients

263 grams /1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons
Photo Credit: Georgia Kral

263 grams /1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

6 grams / 1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast

31 grams / 2 tablespoons + 1 3/4 teaspoons granulated sugar

6 grams / 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

132 grams / 1/2 cub + 1 1/2 teaspoons eggs

44 grams / 2 tablespoons + 2 1/4 teaspoons whole milk

118 grams / 4.1 ounces unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Mix flour and yeast

Place the flour and yeast in the bowl
Photo Credit: Georgia Kral

Place the flour and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix for about 15 seconds to distribute the yeast evenly.

Making the brioche

Add all of the remaining dough ingredients, except
Photo Credit: Georgia Kral

Add all of the remaining dough ingredients, except the butter, and mix on low speed for 4 minutes. Continue to mix on low speed for 30 minutes.

Add butter

After about 30 minutes, there will be some
Photo Credit: Georgia Kral

After about 30 minutes, there will be some dough sticking to the sides of the mixing bowl. You will know the dough is ready if it is smooth and elastic-like.

Add the butter a few pieces at a time with mixer on low, incorporating each addition before adding the next. Stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and push the dough off the hook. Continue to mix for about 10 minutes.

TIP: If some chunks of butter remain whole in the dough, try and push them into the dough, first turning the mixer off before you reach your hand in. The butter will give the dough a glossy sheen.

The dough

This is what your dough should look like.
Photo Credit: Georgia Kral

This is what your dough should look like.

Time for fruit

Fruit instructions: 122 grams / ¾ cup dried
Photo Credit: Georgia Kral

Fruit instructions:

122 grams / ¾ cup dried currants

61 grams / ½ cup dried cranberries

3 grams / ½ teaspoon vanilla paste

Combine the currants and cranberries in a medium bowl and pour 2 cups boiling water over them. Let sit for 5 minutes to plump the fruit, then drain and pat dry with paper towels. Dry the bowl, return the fruit to it, and toss with the vanilla paste.

Run a bowl scraper around the sides and down to the bottom of the bowl of brioche dough to release the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, adding flour only as needed to keep it from sticking.

With your hands, gently pat the dough into a circular shape. Pour some of the currant-cranberry mixture onto the dough and knead it into the dough (which will be sticky) to distribute it evenly.

Work the dough

Stretch the left side of the dough out
Photo Credit: Georgia Kral

Stretch the left side of the dough out and fold it over two-thirds of the dough, add more fruit, then stretch and fold it from the right side to the opposite side, as if you were folding a letter. Repeat the process, working from the bottom and then the top to evenly incorporate the fruit.

And work it some more

Turn the dough over, lift it up with
Photo Credit: Georgia Kral

Turn the dough over, lift it up with a bench scraper, and place it seam side down in a large bowl sprayed with non-stick spray or a couple drops of vegetable oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let the dough sit at room temperature for 45 minutes.

Remove the dough from the bowl, press down to release some of the air, then return the dough to the bowl, seam side down, cover, and let sit for another 45 minutes.

Divide it into 12 equal portions

Use the bowl scraper to release the dough
Photo Credit: Georgia Kral

Use the bowl scraper to release the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a bench scraper, divide the dough into 12 equal portions (78 grams each).

Spray a quarter sheet pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the paper.

Press and fold

Cup your fingers around a portion of dough
Photo Credit: Georgia Kral

Cup your fingers around a portion of dough and, using the palm of your hand, press it down a bit to flatten slightly. Then, fold each side in to the middle, like you're sealing an envelope. There are about 4-5 sides of each portion.

Form a ball

Roll it against the work surface to form
Photo Credit: Georgia Kral

Roll it against the work surface to form a ball. Continue to roll until the dough is completely smooth. Repeat with the remaining dough.

12 buns

Place each ball on the sheet pan. Brush
Photo Credit: Georgia Kral

Place each ball on the sheet pan. Brush the tops with egg wash (well-whipped eggs). Cover with plastic wrap and move to a warm spot to proof for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 325°F (convection) or 350°F (standard).

Brush the tops of the buns with egg wash again. Bake for 17 to 22 minutes in a convection oven, 25 to 30 minutes in a standard oven, until the tops are a rich golden brown and, when tested with a toothpick, the centers are baked through. Set the pan on a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Icing ingredients

258 grams / 2 ¼ cups powdered sugar
Photo Credit: Georgia Kral

258 grams / 2 ¼ cups powdered sugar

1 gram / 3/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 gram / 3/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

40 grams / 2 ½ tablespoons whole milk

Prepare the icing

Sift the sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom into the
Photo Credit: Georgia Kral

Sift the sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom into the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on the lowest setting for about 15 seconds to distribute the spices evenly. With the mixer running, slowly add the milk. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, increase the speed to low, and mix for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until smooth.

Perfect

Transfer the icing to the pastry bag. Cut
Photo Credit: Georgia Kral

Transfer the icing to the pastry bag. Cut off 1/4 inch of the tip.

Make the crosses

Starting at the left side of the top
Photo Credit: Georgia Kral

Starting at the left side of the top corner bun, pipe a continuous strip of icing across the center of the first row of 3 buns. Repeat with the remaining 3 rows. Then repeat in the opposite direction, across the 3 rows of 4 buns, working in the opposite direction, to create a cross of frosting on each bun.

Finished!

Serve the whole pan, or cut into individual
Photo Credit: Georgia Kral

Serve the whole pan, or cut into individual buns.

The buns are best the day they are baked, but they can be stored, before icing, wrapped tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap or in a single layer in a covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 week.

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