Until I read the notation in my grandmother’s cookbook that Hot Cross Buns were a Good Friday tradition, I never made the connection between the crosses on top of the buns and the symbolism of Good Friday.
The buns are delicious and fairly quick and easy to make thanks to Rapid Rise yeast. Instead of having to wait through two rises of the dough, all we have to do is let the dough rest for 10 minutes before we shape it into the buns.
Generally speaking, currants used in baking are a kind of raisin. You will find them next to the raisins and other packaged dry fruit at the grocery store. But if you can’t find currants, go ahead and substitute regular old raisins.
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk scalded
1 envelope of Rapid Rise yeast
3 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup currants
Combine flour, cinnamon, and yeast. Set aside.
Add the sugar, butter and salt to the scalded milk and let cool to 120ºF to 130ºF.
Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients.
Add the currants and mix very thoroughly. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
Shape into large biscuit shapes (hint: oil your hands for easy shaping) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let rise.
Use the remaining egg, lightly beaten, to brush the tops of the buns.
Cut a cross on each bun with a sharp knife. Bake for 20 minutes at 400ºF.
Optional: Make cross out of frosting after buns have cooled.