While hot cross buns might be easy to come by, seemingly available from every bakery and supermarket as soon as the Christmas decorations are put away, there’s something special about pulling your own homemade buns from the oven.
The smell of cinnamon, the glisten of that apricot jam glaze, and those irresistible mouthfuls of sultanas; a warm, homemade hot cross bun is the ultimate treat this Easter.
Want to make it even more special? Forgo the spread of butter and sandwich your hot cross bun with a slathering of rich dulce de leche and a dollop of mascarpone.
Combine milk and butter in a pan and heat until butter has melted. Allow to stand until the liquid is just warm.
In a small bowl, combine dried yeast with 2 tbsp tepid water and leave for five minutes. If yeast does not swell and bubble, discard and try again with new yeast.
Combine strong flour, caster sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and fill with warm milk mix and the lightly-beaten egg.
Stir to combine, then add yeast mix and knead on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes or until dough is smooth. If too sticky, add more flour. If too dry, add a little more water.
Place dough in a lightly-greased mixing bowl and cover loosely with a tea towel. Leave somewhere warm for an hour or until dough doubles in size.
Transfer dough to lightly-floured bench. Sprinkle sultanas, orange zest and grated apple over the dough and knead again until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
Return dough to bowl and cover again, leaving to rise for another hour.
Cover two baking trays with greaseproof paper. Divide dough into balls- approximately 40g each- and distribute evenly across the two trays (leaving room for each bun to double in size).
Cover each tray with a light tea towel and leave buns to rise for an hour.
Preheat oven to 220C.
Combine plain flour with approximately 4 tbsp water until it forms a smooth, thick paste (adding more flour or water as required). Transfer to a piping bag with a small, round nozzle and pipe crosses over buns.
Bake for 13 minutes each, or until golden on top.
Heat apricot jam in a small saucepan until thin. Strain to remove any lumps, then brush jam over the still-warm buns.
To serve, halve warm buns, spread a little dulce de leche on each and top with a teaspoon of mascarpone.