In the same way that I am firm believer that mince pies shouldn’t just be for Christmas (my mum makes mincemeat tart all through the year), these scones are delicious at any time, not just Easter.
Making proper Hot Cross Buns is a labour of love. Enriched dough is not an easy process, consequently they take soooooo long. So, late one Good Friday when I had been working all day in my other job, I came up with this genius mash-up idea. Nowhere near as long to make as Hot Cross Buns, but with the same delicious flavour and smell. Oh my god, they smell divine (holy puns intended!).
This is what you need to do:
Preheat the oven to 200C fan (gas mark 7). To be honest, with scones, the hotter the better.
Lightly grease a baking sheet (you can use butter or spray oil, both work)
Put 225g self-raising flour and 1 level teaspoon baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Stir them around a bit then add in 50g softened butter. Rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Now, at this point those of you who know me well will be asking “Where’s the mixer?” “Can’t I use a food processor?” (Maybe I should rename my page The Lazy Baker?) The answer is yes, but actually the amount of butter in this recipe is so small that it really doesn’t take long to rub in by hand, and it will save on the washing up.
Stir in 25g caster sugar, 75g dried mixed fruit, 1 tablespoon mixed spice (I like it fragranced, but you can add less if you don’t want so much oomph) and the zest of an orange.
Break 1 large egg into a mixing jug and top up with enough milk to make up to 150ml. Stir into the dry ingredients until it makes a soft, but not sticky dough (you might not need all of the egg/milk mixture – save it for brushing over the top).
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and give it a bit of knead, to bring it together. At this point some people roll out their scone dough with a rolling pin, but I do like my mum does and just pat it down to about 1 inch thickness.
Dip your cutter into some more flour, then cut out your scones. I used a 7cm cutter, which is quite large. But you can use smaller. I got 6 generous scones from my dough, a smaller cutter will get more, obviously. If you don’t have any cutters then use a glass, or just make the dough into a rough rectangle and cut into even sized squares. Gently push together any leftover dough and recut.
Put your scones on the baking sheet. Make sure they are spaced out in case they spread a bit during baking.
Before putting them in the oven, cut a fairly deep cross in each one with a serrated knife. Then brush with the remaining egg/milk mix, f you have any, or just a bit of milk if not. If you want a proper Hot Cross Bun cross then mix 75g plain flour with 75ml water and pipe or drizzle across the top.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until pale golden brown and risen a bit. As soon as you remove them from the oven brush on a bit of apricot jam for that HCB final look. If you don’t have apricot jam (I only usually have it for sticking marzipan to Christmas cakes, I’d never put it on my toast), then any jam you have will do, or carry on the orange theme with marmalade instead.
Cool on a wire rack, but these are best eaten just a little bit warm, so that bit of butter you spread on melts in slightly. Yum! The house will smell like Easter, the only thing missing is the chocolate (But if you wanted to add in choc chips to replace some of the fruit, that would work.)
I had one for breakfast on Easter Saturday, delicious!
Enjoy, Happy Easter, or just Happy Baking Day!