Cherry-Apricot Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns
Image © Alica Ramkirpal-Senhouse

“I don’t usually make Cross Buns… but I decided to try out some family recipes and make some additions of my own – apricots, dried cherries and apricot jam for a glaze. I love this combination of fruits and the citrusy notes that the lemon and orange zests brought to the buns. Feel free to add more fruits to the mix – a handful of currants and dried blueberries would be a delicious, fruity addition.” – Alica Ramkirpal-Senhouse, Inner Gourmet

For Buns:

1/3 cup white sugar

1 ¼ cup warm whole milk (110 – 115 degrees F)

2 Tbsp. active dry yeast

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface

1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground allspice

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. salt

Zest of one orange

Zest of one lemon

3 Tbsp. vegetable shortening

2 Tbsp. softened butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract or essence

1/2 tsp. mixed essence (optional)

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped

1/2 dried cherries, chopped or whole

Oil for greasing bowl and pan

For Apricot Glaze:

1/4 cup apricot jam for glaze

 1 Tbsp. water

For Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar

3 – 4 tsp. whole milk

1/4 tsp. almond extract 

Pour the warm milk into a bowl along with the sugar. Stir in the yeast and allow yeast, cover in a warm place to bloom for 8-10 minutes. The mixture will become frothy.

In a large bowl, add the flour, spices, lemon and orange zests, and salt. Mix well. Add softened butter and shortening and combine until crumbly. 

Add milk/yeast mixture to flour mixture, combine to make a sticky dough. Add vanilla to beaten egg and pour egg into dough, mix well until egg can no longer be seen. Add dried fruits and mix in well. 

Place sticky dough on a floured surface, using the heel of your palm, knead until dough becomes smooth by bringing the edge of dough into its center.  Place dough in a deep oiled bowl and allow to rise in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.  

After dough has risen, break off lemon-sized pieces. Make the dough ball round by tucking it under itself so the top becomes round and smooth. 

Place dough balls into an oiled 9 x 13 baking dish, allow to double in size uncovered, about 30 minutes. 20 minutes before the time is up, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake the buns for 15-20 minutes until the tops are brown. Meanwhile, mix together apricot jam and water and heat in microwave for 30 seconds or until jam has melted. Brush buns with glaze immediately after removing from oven. 

After buns have cooled slightly (about 15 minutes), mix powdered sugar in a bowl, stirring in a little milk at a time until desired consistency is reached (thick and easy to drizzle): add almond extract. Pour mixture into a ziploc bag or pastry bag and pipe the crosses onto the buns. 

This recipe was published in the June 2015 edition of Cooking Sense Magazine