Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr
Hands-on Time
40 Mins
Total Time
3 Hours 15 Mins
Serves 24 (serving size: 1 roll)

With less heft and more flavor and fluff, these delicate Hot Cross Buns deserve attention all year long. A hint of warm spices balances a sweet glaze to finish off these Easter rolls.

How to Make It

Step 1

To prepare rolls, combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; let stand 10 minutes. Drain fruit in a colander over a bowl, reserving fruit and juice.

Step 2

Weigh or lightly spoon 5 ounces (about 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour and pastry flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, salt, and next 5 ingredients (through yeast) in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached; mix until combined. Combine reserved orange juice, fat-free milk, honey, butter, and 2 eggs in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. With mixer on, slowly add milk mixture to flour mixture; mix at medium-low speed 7 minutes. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Add reserved fruit. Knead 2 minutes or until smooth and elastic; add enough of remaining 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm, dry place, free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide into 24 equal portions; roll each portion into a ball. Place rolls in muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until almost doubled in size.

Step 3

Preheat oven to 350°.

Step 4

Combine 1 tablespoon water and egg white; stir with a whisk. Gently brush rolls with egg white mixture. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until golden, rotating pans once during baking. Remove from pans; cool 10 minutes on a wire rack.

Step 5

To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar and remaining ingredients in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Microwave at HIGH 20 seconds or until warm. Spoon glaze into a zip-top plastic bag. Seal bag; snip a tiny hole in 1 corner of bag. Pipe a cross on top of each warm roll.

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Ratings & Reviews

LaLindaLou's Review

April 08, 2012
These were heavy, dense, and VERY dry. The second star is for the good flavors. I used the pastry flour, and as you see, both resulted the same. Once I slathered them with butter, jam, cream cheese, etc, they were much better, but I suppose some recipes just weren't meant to be "lightened." Back to the drawing board for me on these...on the bright side, the tasty bread will probably make a WONDERFUL bread pudding.

Loved them!

March 25, 2016
I think these were absolutely delightful. Exactly how I remember having them at home with my mom. I did not find them dry or dense at all. I think some of the other reviewer's problems might have been 1) you MUST use QUICK RISE yeast. That is why there is no separate activation. And 2) whole wheat flour is NOT a substitute for whole wheat pastry flour. WW pastry flour is much lighter. I used white ww flour and they worked perfectly, however. I hope this helps!

Not Traditional

April 02, 2015
I should just add that a really traditional hot cross bun has the cross formed from another type of dough batter set into the bun, not icing.  In fact, I had never had a bun with an icing cross until I came to north America.  But I sure am glad to have read these reviews, I won't waste my time and will continue my search for the perfect hot cross bun recipe.  Maybe Jamie Oliver won't let me down. 

Not great

March 28, 2015
I wish I had read the reviews before making this. Like the review below they are dense and dry. I couldn't understand why they have the yeast process the way they do, because there's no activating it before you start, which I think would help. Also there is no reason to heat up the icing before piping it on, as it just made it messy and runny. They do taste good, they just aren't hot cross buns

HawaiianBaker's Review

October 28, 2012

JChoco's Review

April 07, 2012
These were OK. Mine came out kind of heavy and not as light as I would like. I used white whole wheat flour but it wasn't pastry flour. I'm not sure if there's a difference.

sigleigh's Review

April 07, 2012