Hot Cross Buns Recipe

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Bouchon Bakery (The Thomas Keller Library)This recipe was developed by Bouchon Bakery’s head baker, Matthew McDonald. The buns are loaded with currants and cranberries and piped with an icing spiced with cinnamon and cardamom. It’s the beguiling addition of cardamom to just the right amount of cinnamon in the icing, and the way the spices play off the fruit, that gives these buns their zing. Hot cross buns are an English tradition on Good Friday, but they’re so good we hope you’ll make them all year round.

  • Yield: 12 Buns


For the buns
  • ¾ cup (122 grams) Dried curranis
  • ½ cup (61 grams) Dried cranberries
  • ½ teaspoon (3 grams) Vanilla paste
  • Brioche Dough for Hot Cross Buns
  • Egg Wash
  • 2¼ cups (258 grams) Powdered sugar
  • 0.12 teaspoon (1 gram) Ground cinnamon
  • 0.12 teaspoon (1 gram) Ground cardamom
  • 2½ tablespoons (40 grams) Whole milk
How to Make It
    For the buns
  1. 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. Set aside.
  2. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. 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.
  3. With your hands, gently pat the dough into a rectangular shape. Pour the currant -cranberry mixture onto the dough and knead it into the dough (which will be sticky) to distribute it evenly. Pat the dough into a rectangle again.
  4. Stretch the left side of the dough out and fold it over two-thirds of the dough, 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. Turn the dough over, lift it up with a bench scraper, and place it seam side down in the prepared bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let the dough sit at room temperature for 45 minutes.
  5. Repeat the stretching and folding process, then return the dough to the bowl, seam side down, cover, and let sit for another 45 minutes.
  6. Spray the quarter sheet pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the paper.
  7. 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). Cup your fingers around a portion of dough and, using the palm of your hand, roll it against the work surface to form a ball. Continue to roll until the dough is completely smooth. Repeat with the remaining dough. (When you become proficient at rolling with one hand, you can use both hands and roll 2 portions at a time.) Set the balls on the prepared pan in 3 rows of 4 Brush the tops with egg wash.
  8. Cover the pan with a plastic tub or a cardboard box and let proof for 1 to 1½ hours, until the balls have risen and are touching.
  9. Preheat the oven to 325°F (convection) or 350°F (standard).
  10. 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. (If freezing, do not ice the buns at this point.)
  11. For the icing
  12. 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.
  13. Transfer the icing to the pastry bag. Cut off ¼ inch of the tip. 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. Serve the whole pan, or cut into individual buns.
  14. 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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