Fig and Sour Cherry Hot Cross Muffins
Fig and Sour Cherry Hot Cross Muffins

Fig and Sour Cherry Hot Cross Muffins

  • Prep time:

  • Cook time:

  • Total time:

  • Portion/Yield:

    Makes 12 hot cross muffins
  • Difficulty:


Easter is a lovely time of the year. Spring has sprung and everyone is in a cheerful mood!

The smell of freshly baked bread is simply fantastic and the aroma of these yeasted hot cross muffins is even more special. There is no added sugar in this recipe as the dried fruits naturally add the sweetness. I then brush the hot buns with warm honey as soon as they come out of the oven as it gives them a lovely sticky sweet top. Delicious!photo of Fig and Sour Cherry Hot Cross Muffins

Ingredients & Method

For the muffins

  • 330g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 120g spelt flour
  • 15g fresh yeast
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon ground mixed spice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of table salt
  • 100g dried sour cherries, chopped
  • 100g ready-to-eat dried figs, chopped
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 180ml tepid water

For the white cross paste

  • 50g plain white flour
  • 40ml tepid water
  • 1 teaspoon sunflower oil
  • 3 tablespoons clear honey, for glazing

For the muffins, place both the flours, the yeast, orange zest and both spices into the bowl of an electric stand mixer; use your fingertips to rub the yeast evenly into the flour mixture. Add the salt, sour cherries, figs, eggs and water. Fit the dough hook and turn the mixer on to run at a slow speed, mixing to form a dough. Knead the dough on a slow speed for 8 minutes. (Alternatively, you can mix and knead the dough by hand, if you prefer.)

photo of Fig and Sour Cherry Hot Cross Muffins

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape it into a ball. Place the dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean dry tea towel or cling film and leave the dough to rise in a warm place for about 40 minutes or until it is doubled in size.

Turn the risen dough onto a lightly floured work surface, shape it into a long log shape, then cut it into 12 even-size pieces.

photo of Fig and Sour Cherry Hot Cross Muffins

Cut out 12 squares of non-stick baking paper, each about 12cm-square in size. Roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball shape, place each one into the centre of a baking paper square, then place it into the hole of a 12-hole muffin tin. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough and baking paper squares. Lightly cover with a clean dry tea towel or cling film and leave to rise again (prove) in a warm place for about 20 minutes or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas Mark 7.

While the muffins are proving, make the white cross paste. Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl to make a smooth paste. Scoop the paste into a disposable piping bag.

When the muffins are ready to bake, snip the end off the piping bag to make a small hole, then pipe a cross on top of each muffin.

photo of Fig and Sour Cherry Hot Cross Muffins

Bake in the oven for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/Gas Mark 4 and bake for a further 25 minutes or until the muffins are risen and golden brown.

Meanwhile, warm the honey in a small pan. Remove the baked muffins from the oven and immediately brush them with the warm honey using a pastry brush. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack and leave to cool completely before serving (see Cook’s Note). Enjoy!

Cook’s Note

These muffins are best eaten on the day they are made. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature and eat within 1–2 days. Alternatively, freeze any leftover muffins for up to a month, then defrost overnight at room temperature before serving.