A jazzed up version of this Easter classic.

Cookery School at Little Portland Street was set up by Rosalind Rathouse, who having worked as a professional cook knows exactly what is needed to run a successful hands on school. Situated near Oxford Circus, London, the school runs a number of different courses, appealing to all ages and capabilities, with a maximum of ten students per teacher in every class.

Here the school shares a popular recipe at this time of year, a spiced up version of hot cross buns. They say, "If you want to jazz it up further, you can add stem ginger or sour cherries." We say, best served toasted with lashings of good quality butter.


400g/1 lb plain flour
250ml/8ozs pint milk and water (equal quantities of both)
50g/2 oz caster sugar
50g/2 oz melted butter or sunflower seed oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 teaspoons each cinnamon and nutmeg
12g/½ oz dried instant yeast
75g/3 oz currants softened by pouring over boiling water then draining
25g/1 oz chopped candied peel


1. Place flour, sugar, salt, spices and dried instant yeast in a bowl.

2. Warm the milk and water mixture to blood temperature.

3. Mix together the melted butter/oil, and beaten eggs and slowly stir in the warmed milk.

4. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients in the bowl and mix together well until a soft dough is formed. If too soft, add a little more flour and if too firm, add a little more milk or water.

5. Knead until a smooth, soft and pliable dough is obtained. Replace in an oiled bowl.

6. Cover with a folded, damp cloth or plate and leave in a warm place to rise for about 40 minutes.

7. When the mixture has proved by doubling in bulk, add the currants and candied peel to it.

8. Now turn out the dough on to a floured board, roll or pat it out and cut it into about 13 pieces. Shape these into rounds and place in lines, not too close together, on a greased and floured baking tray.

9. Leave in a warm place for about 20 until the buns are well risen and again doubled in bulk.

10. Using a loose flour and water paste put into a pastry bag or plastic bag with corner cut off, pipe a cross over each bun. This task is made far easier because the buns are lined up in parallel rows.

11. Place in the centre of a heated oven 400ºF/200ºC for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

12. As soon as you take the hot cross buns out of the oven, brush them with a sugar and water glaze. This gives the characteristic shiny top to the bun.

Flour and water paste - mix together three tablespoons of flour with sufficient water to make a thickish yet runny paste but not so thick that it is ‘gluggy’.

Glaze - place two tablespoons of sugar and two tablespoons of water in a cup and microwave for about 1 minute or until sugar is dissolved. Paint over hot buns as they come out of oven.

March 2016