Tag Archives: Easter baking

Sweet Easter: Hot Cross Buns


Yesterday I posted an Argentine Easter cake, but of course I couldn’t miss the chance to post about Hot Cross Buns, which are already populating bakeries and supermarkets all over London.

I’ve made hot cross buns more than once now and I feel pretty confident that anyone can make them successfully just by following the recipe step by step. They don’t take much time (aside from the rising times which can’t be helped) and the house smells deliciously while they bake. Also the home-made version is less doughy that the ones you get at the supermarket. If you have a Gail’s bakery near you and have tried their hot cross buns, this recipe makes buns that are just like those (or even a bit better).

Ps. If you like, you can add orange and lemon zest to make them taste extra fruity.

Ingredients (makes 12 buns):

7 grs. dried yeast.

5 tablespoons lukewarm water

150 ml lukewarm milk

450 grs. strong plain flour

85 grs. caster sugar

1 level teaspoon of salt

2 level teaspoons mixed spice (I used 1 teaspoon cinnamon, half teaspoon ginger and half nutmeg).

60 grs. softened butter

85 grs. currants

30 grs. chopped mixed peel

1 big egg beaten.

To make the crosses:

75 grs. plain flour.

2-3 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon sunflower oil.

For the glaze:

2 tablespoons each of milk and sugar.

On his book “How to bake” Paul Hollywood suggests a different glaze which also sounds good so I’m sharing: 2 tablespoons apricot jam dissolved on 2 tbsp water. Heat until the jam is dissolved and paint your buns with it once they are out of the oven.

How to:

1.- Place the instant yeast in a small bowl, add the 5 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon of caster sugar and the lukewarm milk. Cover and leave till it froths:

DSC052212.- In another bowl mix the remaining flour, the salt and the spices. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles sand.

3.- To the flour mixture add the currants, the peel and the sugar. Then make a well in the middle.


4.- Into the well add the yeast mixture and the egg and mix to form a dough. Tip into a lightly floured surface or work inside the bowl if it is big enough. At first the mixture will be sticky, but keep working it and it will turn into a pliable and soft dough.


5.- Your dough has to be soft, so don’t add more flour, rather try to work it carefully for at least 10 minutes till it becomes soft and elastic.


6.- Place the dough into a bowl, cover with cling film or a plastic bag and let it rise for at least an hour, or until it doubles in size.

7.- After an hour, re-knead and divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball. Place, slightly apart, on greased baking sheets and cover. Leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.

DSC052308.- After 30 minutes preheat the oven at 190 C, and start to prepare the mixture for the crosses:

Sift the plain flour and add the oil and enough water to create a paste that will hold it’s shape when piped. Spoon into a small piping bag and pipe a cross on top of each bun.


9.- Bake the buns for 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.

10.- Mix the sugar and milk and heat. Brush the buns with this mixture as soon as they leave the oven. If your hot cross buns come out of the oven still a bit pale, just brush them with the milk and popped them back into the oven with the glaze on…they will come out beautiful!

And that’s all! Just 10 steps to home-made, scrumptious, hot cross buns!


Argentine Easter cake: Rosca de Pascua


Easter is almost around the corner, soon it will be upon us, as usual, faster than expected. If you are feeling like baking something special this year, you might be on the right place (or blog).

This is a recipe for a traditional Easter cake eaten in Argentina during this season. I’m calling it a “cake” but it is more like a sweet, soft bread, made with enriched dough. It has an outer layer of creme pattisiere and glase cherries, which makes it quite the showstopper.

Traditionally, it had an un-peeled boiled egg as part of the decoration, but it was later replaced by a chocolate egg.

Rosca de Pascua  is in Argentina what hot cross buns are in England and Ireland: a staple of the Easter table.


These days most people just buy it from the bakery, but if you are lucky enough, you might have a grandma that likes baking and then it will befall on her to make one for Easter Sunday.

If you’ll like something different this Easter you might want to give this recipe a try. The resulting cake is delicious with coffee or tea.

It takes a bit of time, but it will be worth your while.

The following ingredients make two 1/2 Kg Roscas or 1 big, 1 kilo Rosca.


600 grs of strong flour

7 grs of instant yeast

100 grs of butter at room temperature

150 grs sugar

3 eggs

1 tablespoon honey

130 ml lukewarm milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water

Zest from 1 orange

Vanilla essence, optional.

To decorate: crème patissiere,  glasse cherries and chouquette sugar.

To make the creme patissiere:

2 egg yolks

20 g corn starch

250 ml milk

60 g sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence


How to:

1.- In a bowl mix the tablespoon of honey, the yeast and the lukewarm milk and let it rest until the yeast froths.

2.- Meanwhile mix the flour and the salt in a clean surface and make a well in the centre. Add the eggs, the sugar, the orange blossom essence, the vanilla essence and the orange zest.


3.- Once the yeast has froth, add it to the centre of the well, and with one hand start to mix all the ingredients inside your well until they are fully integrated. Then, carefully, start adding flour from the sides of the well so that the mixture starts to thicken. At this point you can help yourself with a scraper. Keep adding flour until you have a dough.


4.- Once you have incorporated all the flour and your dough is workable you will add the butter. It should be at room temperature and therefore pliable. Just add half the butter to the dough and knead until you can’t see any trace of it on the dough, then add the rest of the butter and knead. You will notice that your dough gets very sticky but don’t add any more flour because that will result in a hard, dense and dry rosca (yes, all because of just a little more flour).


5.- After 10 minutes of working it you’ll have a soft, pliable dough, so just have faith and keep kneading. Let it rest for 15 minutes.

6.- After 15 minutes, dip one of your fingers in flour and use it to make a hole in the centre of the dough. Then use your hand to shape it until the hole is as big as the bottom of a glass.


6.- Place the shaped roscas in a baking tray and in the centre of each rosca place a buttered and floured glass jar or glass so that it will keep its shape during baking. Let them rise until double in size. Because of the sugar and butter in the dough it might take up to 2 hours.


In the meantime you can prepare the crème patissiere:

  1. Beat the egg yolks and sugar for a few minutes until pale and slightly thickened.
  2. Whisk in the flours.
  3. Heat the milk in a saucepan until stating to boil.
  4. Whisk the milk into the egg mix whisking vigorously, otherwise you’ll cook the eggs and get scrambled eggs!!
  5. Put the whole lot back into the pan, stirring all the time until thick and boiling.
  6. Take the pan off the heat – cover with cling-film to prevent a skin from forming.

If you are new to making crème pat, here is a video that might help you. The quantities are different, just ignore, we are making a lot less crème pat!


7.- After 2 hours paint with egg and place in a preheated oven at 190 C for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove from the oven and decorate with the crème patissiere, the cherries and the chouquette sugar. Place back in the oven for another 15 minutes. They come out of the oven looking like this:


8.- To give it the bakery finish you have to brush them with a syrup made out of equal parts of water and sugar, simply boil them together until the mixture thickens a bit, let it cool before you brush the roscas with it. That gives them the glossy finish the Rosca de Pascua traditionally has.

DSC051939.- Let them cool down and enjoy!!!


Happy Baking! Paula