A twist on our delicious Easter hot cross buns, this fluffy fruity loaf is perfect eaten freshly baked, or sliced and toasted with lashings of butter for breakfast!
Blueberry, citrus & white chocolate hot cross bun loaf
YOU WILL NEED A 900G/2 LB LOAF TIN & PIPING BAG
195ml/7fl oz whole milk
50g/1½ oz unsalted butter
450g/1 lb strong white bread flour,
plus extra for dusting
7g sachet fast-action yeast
1 tsp salt
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1½ tsp ground mixed spice
50g/1½ oz soft brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten
100g/3½ oz dried blueberries
60g/2oz mixed peel
50g/1½ oz white chocolate drops
Olive oil, for greasing
For the cross
2 tbsp plain flour
For the glaze
3 tbsp caster sugar
- Lightly grease the loaf tin with a little olive oil and line with baking parchment so that it overhangs the edges.
- Pour the milk into a small saucepan and add the butter. Heat on a medium heat until the butter has melted, then set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, yeast, salt, spices and sugar together and make a well in the centre. Add the beaten egg gradually, then add the milk, bringing all the ingredients together with a round-bladed knife until the mixture forms a rough ball. Or you can mix this in a stand mixer using the dough hook.
- Tip the dough onto your worktop and knead until smooth and elastic. Put it into a large bowl, lightly greased. Cover with a clean damp tea towel and leave for 1½–2 hours to double in size.
- When dough has risen, tip it onto a lightly floured worktop and shape it into a rough rectangle shape with your hands. Scatter over the blueberries, mixed peel and chocolate drops, then knead the dough to evenly distribute the fruits.
- Weigh the dough and divide into three equal pieces. Shape each piece into an oblong shape, tucking the seam underneath. Lay the pieces side by side in the tin and cover with a clean damp tea towel for around an hour or until the dough is risen and slowly springs back when you prod it gently.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan oven) Gas 7.
- For the cross, mix the flour with enough water to make a thick paste by gradually adding a tablespoon of water at a time. Pop it in a small piping bag and snip off the end. Make one long line running lengthways across the buns, then pipe lines the other way to create a cross on each bun.
- Bake for 25–30 minutes until golden brown. The loaf should sound hollow when you tap its underside. Remove from oven and, using the overhanging parchment, gently lift the loaf from the tin and place on acooling rack to cool.
- For the sugar glaze, mix the sugar with 1 tbsp water and, while the loaf is still warm, brush the sugary mixture all over with a pastry brush. Leave to cool, then slice and enjoy!
Don’t discard any slices of stale loaf; turn them into bread and butter pudding, breadcrumbs or even French toast! Instead of using a tea towel to cover your rising dough, stretch a shower cap over the bowl.
Seasonal bakes and tips on growing your own produce by former The Great British Bake Off contestant, Michelle Evans-Fecci
Former Bake Off contestant Michelle was known on the show for her flavoursome, colourful bakes and for championing seasonal, locally sourced and homegrown produce. Whether it's a simple loaf for breakfast or a striking showstopper cake for a celebration, she loves using seasonal food to create tasty recipes for the whole family to enjoy.
The Seasonal Baker is a collection of recipes straight from Michelle's kitchen to yours - from quick-and-easy bakes to others that are a bit more challenging - with an emphasis on special events such as Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Inside you will find delicious, vibrant recipes such as:
- Hot Cross Bun Bread and Butter Pudding
- Truffle, Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia
- Smokey Pulled Pork Sausage Rolls
- Butternut Squash, Feta, Maple and Pecan Cups
- Vanilla, Rhubarb and Raspberry Celebration Cake
Michelle grew up on a farm and learned from a young age how to grow vegetables and the basics of cooking and baking. She now lives in the beautiful seaside town of Tenby in Pembrokeshire with her husband Ben, their teenage son Alfie, little whippet Rosie, and two cheeky hens. As a family they love to be out in the garden where they grow a lot of the fruit, vegetables and herbs that Michelle uses in her everyday cooking. The book shows just how easy and rewarding it is to grow your own produce.
As well as delicious bakes for all abilities, The Seasonal Baker contains hints and tips on ways of being thrifty with food. There is something for everyone, from what to plant, when to plant it and when to harvest - whether you have access to a plant pot, window box, balcony, raised bed or garden veg patch with intuitive, creative photos to help.