Orange And Apricot Hot Cross Buns

hot cross buns recipe

Hot cross buns are said to bring good luck, especially on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. In Christian tradition, the yeasted treats represent the rise of Jesus on the third day after crucifixion. In Pagan tradition, they symbolize the renewal of Spring. Either way, they’re irresistibly tasty, especially when packed with diced apricots and orange zest then painted with a glaze of orange liqueur.



  • 9 ounces (260g) dried apricots
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) orange liqueur
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons (65 g) vegan butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) soy milk, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • 3 3/4 cup (525 g) strong white bread flour
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) caster sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp orange zest
  • 1/4 tsp flaky sea salt

White Cross

  • 1/2 cup (65 g) all-purpose or plain white flour
  • 5 Tbsp water


  • 2 3/4 Tbsp (40 ml) water
  • 2 3/4 Tbsp (40 ml) orange liqueur
  • 6 Tbsp caster sugar or granulated sugar


  1. For the buns: Dice the apricots and place in a medium bowl. Add the orange liqueur and stir to coat. Stir in 5 Tbsp (75 ml) of boiling water, cover, and leave to soak.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted vegan butter and soy milk. Whisk in the yeast and leave until the yeast looks frothy, about 5 minutes.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and sugar. Add the yeast/milk mixture, and beat on low speed until the dough is combined and smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. It will be very sticky.
  4. Remove the dough hook and cover the bowl with reusable wrap or a damp tea-towel and leave to proof at room temperature for 1 hour.
  5. Once the dough is proofed and increased in size, add the spices along with the orange zest and sea salt. Drain the apricots and add to the dough. Re-attach the dough hook and mix on low speed for a few minutes or until the fruit is incorporated. If the fruit doesn’t want to stay in the dough, transfer the dough to a clean surface and knead by hand instead.
  6. Cover the dough again and leave to proof for 1 hour more.
  7. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment and set aside. Transfer the dough to a clean surface and push out any large air bubbles with your finger tips.
  8. Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the dough into 15 portions, each weighing about 90 g, if you want to get all precise.
  9. To shape each piece, gently push it into a flat square with your fingertips. Fold the corners over to make a little pouch, and then flip upside down so the smooth side is facing up. Cup your hand over the dough and shape the dough into a tight, smooth ball, moving your hand in a circular motion with light pressure on the dough beneath. Place the dough balls on the tray as they are done, evenly spacing them apart.
  10. Cover the balls of dough and leave to proof for 1 more hour.
  11. Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
  12. For the cross: Mix the flour and water in a medium bowl to make a thick, runny paste. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag or resealable plastic bag and cut off the tip. Set aside until the buns are finished proofing.
  13. Once the buns are proofed, carefully pluck out any apricots that are poking through the surface (otherwise they will burn). They make a tasty snack. Carefully pipe the cross mixture in straight lines across the center of the buns.
  14. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the tray half-way through for even browning.
  15. For the glaze: Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and allow to bubble gently for 3-5 minutes. It should thicken and the volume of the mixture should reduce by at least half. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  16. Remove the buns from the oven and let cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Then, use a pastry brush to paint the glaze over each bun. If serving straight away, leave to cool for another 10 minutes. Once cooled, you can store these in an air-tight container for a day or two. To serve, slice in half, toast and spread with vegan butter. To freeze, slice in half, wrap tightly and freeze for up to a month.

This dough is unlike many bread doughs in that it requires three proofs (or rises) due to the rich nature of the dough.

The final proof happens once the dough has been shaped into buns. It’s also a good idea to use tweezers to remove any apricot pieces which are sticking out to help avoid burnt bits.

The cross is piped on using a piping bag, but don’t worry if you don’t have one. Just transfer the mixture to a sandwich bag and snip off the corner.

Once the hot cross buns are baked, they are brushed with a simple syrup for extra flavor, sweetness, and gloss. Feel free to top with extra orange zest too!

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