Like all baked goods with raisins in (see: Christmas cake, Eccles cakes and pain aux raisin) hot cross buns can be divisive. To some, they're a perfectly good breakfast snack RUINED by soggy globules of dried-grape snot. To others, they're the quintessential sign that spring is well on its way: light, fruity, spicy and festive. If you're firmly in the latter camp, you might be surprised to know that they aren't too hard to make at home. In fact, there are loads of basic recipes online. Try this one, for example. But if you want to make extra, extra special buns? You need advice the pros. Luckily we've got that very advice right here – and it's from some of London's best bakers, no less.
1. Claire Ptak, Violet Cakes
‘I always candy my own citrus peel. It makes such an amazing difference to the flavour of the buns.’
2. Daisy Terry, The Dusty Knuckle
‘We use buttermilk in place of milk in the recipe, it helps to get that super-soft texture and is extra-delicious. Mix your soaked fruit and candied peel with your spices before you add it to the dough. Cinnamon can do weird stuff to your yeast and we’ve found that this way it mixes in with the fruit and doesn’t seem to affect the fermentation so much. And, finally, make your crossing paste ahead of time and add a small bit of oil to the mix. It will pipe much easier that way. Definitely don’t keep it in the fridge: learnt that one the hard way.’ The Dusty Knuckle is doing deliveries from April 14.