April 5th, 2009


Fig and Sour Cherry Hot Cross Muffins

It’s a lovely sunny day; all my spring flowers are in bloom. The smell of hyacinths is in the air and my bunny Elly is hopping over the grass. It’s a perfect day to bake Fig and Sour Cherry Hot Cross muffins.

The aroma of these light, freshly baked and heavily spiced hot cross buns hangs for a while in the kitchen. This certainly adds to the joy of making them.

Baking hot cross buns is a Good Friday custom as it’s a reminder of the crucifixion. I shall bake these again this coming Friday.

I thought it would be cool and slightly different to line a muffin tray with parchment paper and bake these in the muffin tray. They are still buns but just look slightly swanky and different.

There is no added sugar in the recipe as the dried fruits naturally add the sweetness. I brush them with warm honey as soon as they come out of the oven; it gives these buns a lovely sticky sweet top.

I have also chosen to use a mixture of spelt flour and strong bread flour. The spelt flour adds the wonderful rich whole meal goodness to the buns without making them heavy and claggy.

When I bake these hot cross buns I wait till they are completely cold then freeze them. This way I can enjoy this delicious recipe throughout the Easter period for breakfast or with a cup of tea in the afternoon.


  • 330g strong white flour
  • 120g spelt flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Zest of one orange
  • 180g water
  • 30g fresh yeast or 14g dried yeast
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 100g dried figs, chopped
  • 100g dried sour cherries, chopped
  • 2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tsp ground mixed spice

Weigh both flours and fresh yeast into a large mixing bowl; use your fingers to rub the fresh yeast into the flour mixture. Ensure an even distribution of the yeast.

Use a fine grater such as the microplane to grate the orange zest.

Add the zest to the flour mix along with the salt, eggs, chopped sour cherries, figs and add the water.

Use the dough hook to kneed the dough for 8 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and kneed it into a smooth ball of dough.

Place the dough into a lightly oiled metal bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Let the dough prove until double in size.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Shape the dough carefully into a long log shape and divide it into 12 even sized pieces.

Cut 12 squares of parchment paper; roll each bun in a smooth ball shape.


Place the round bun onto the center of the paper and then place the paper into a hole of a muffin tray. Repeat the process with all twelve balls.

Cover the tray with a clean dry tea towel and let the buns prove until double in size.

Preheat the oven to 220°C and follow the following stage while the buns are proving for the second time.

White Cross Paste

  • 50g Plain white flour
  • 5g sunflower oil
  • 40g warm water
  • Honey for glazing the buns

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl to a smooth paste.

Scoop the paste into a disposable piping bag, make a small hole and pipe a cross on top of the proved buns, just before they are ready to go in the oven.


Bake the hot cross buns for 5 minutes at 220°C then turn the oven down to 180°C and bake for a further 22 minutes.

As soon as the buns come out of the oven, heat the honey and brush it onto the warm buns with a pastry brush.

Transfer the buns to a cooling rack and let then cool completely.

Makes 12 large hot cross buns.

Food Fanatics Tip
I recommend using Sharpham Parks spelt flour and Shipton Mills Type 55 strong white flour. You can also purchase fresh yeast via Mail order from the Bertinet Kitchen, I was very pleased when I found out that the Bertinet kitchen have this service as I have always found it difficult to find fresh yeast. Have a look at their website for further details.

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11 Comments to “Fig and Sour Cherry Hot Cross Muffins”

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  1. susan says:

    Anglophile that I am……can’t wait to ‘cross by my buns’…..am wondering, though, are British teaspoons/tablespoons the same measurement as American ones?
    Thanks, Susan

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