Vegan hot cross buns

Delight the whole family with this classic Easter treat this bank holiday weekend.

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With Easter around the corner, it can be difficult to balance out both diet and intolerances when catering for family and friends. Luckily, hot cross buns don’t always need eggs or dairy, so here’s a vegan version of the beloved Easter classic. If you need to make it gluten free, swap out the flour for gluten-free oat flour, or just blitz some gluten-free oats in the blender!

Ingredients

  • 500g of strong white bread flour (for buns)
  • 70g of plain flour (for cross) 
  • 7g sachet of fast-action yeast  
  • 70g of golden caster sugar 
  • 2 (generous) tsp of ground cinnamon  
  • 2 (generous) tsp of mixed spice  
  • ½ tsp of salt  
  • 300ml of unsweetened almond milk 
  • 50g dairy-free spread 
  • Zest of 1 large orange 
  • 70g of sultanas 
  • 50g of mixed peel 
  • 50g of apricot jam 

Method

  1. Pour almond milk into a saucepan over medium heat and simmer. Once it’s simmering, remove from heat and add dairy-free spread. Allow it to melt and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. Next, mix the flour, sugar, salt, spices and yeast in a big mixing bowl. In the center of the mix, make a small well to pour the milk mixture into. Use a wooden spoon to create a sticky dough. Then pour the dough out onto a surface dusted with flour. 
  3. Knead dough by stretching it for 5-7 minutes, stretching it back and forth until it feels elastic and looks smooth. Mould the dough into a ball with your hands and put into a bowl that has been lightly oiled. Cover the bowl and leave in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size. This should take an hour. 
  4. Once risen, flip the dough back out onto the surface dusted in flour and flatten into a circle. Sprinkle the zest, sultanas, and mixed peel onto the dough and knead in, making sure there is even distribution. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and allow it to rise for another hour while covered. 
  5. Remove some of the air in the dough by gently punching it into the floured surface. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls. Arrange the buns on a large, parchment lined baking sheet, giving them 2cm between each bun. With oiled cling film, cover the baking sheet and allow to rise for a further 45 min. 
  6. While the buns prove, preheat the oven to 220C/200 fan/gas 7 and then begin the crosses. Start with a small bowl, mixing 1 tbsp of water at a time with the flour. The aim is to create a paste with a consistency that will work in a piping bag. Spoon the mixture into the piping bag and pipe a cross onto each bun. If you do not have a piping bag, use a plastic reclosable bag and snip a hole in a lower corner. Once the crosses have been applied, place the baking sheet into the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15-20 min or until golden in colour.      
  7. While they bake, heat the jam in a saucepan on low to make it less viscous. Pour it out, over a sieve, into another bowl to remove lumpy bits. Then brush the jam over the tops of buns as soon as they come out of the oven and allow to cool before digging in. 

Looking for a little extra this Easter? Why not try this vegan, gluten-free Easter cake?