Hot Cross Buns

The traditional Good Friday pastry gets a boozy kick
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Hot Cross Buns
Photo: Lizzie Munro/Tasting Table

Allison Robicelli of Robicelli's in Brooklyn makes these spiced buns, which are synonymous with Good Friday and the Easter season, extra special by soaking dried fruit in a black tea-and-whiskey mixture. She then tops the warm buns with a glaze that is scented with ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.

To learn more, read "Hot Cross Yum."

Hot Cross Buns

Recipe adapted from Allison Robicelli, Robicelli's, Brooklyn, NY

Yield: 12 buns

Prep Time: 2 hours, plus rising time

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours and 25 minutes, plus rising time


For the Spiced Dried Fruit:

1¼ cups water

¼ cup whiskey

2 tablespoons honey

1 tea bag black tea

½ cup assorted dried fruit (such as golden raisins, dried apricots and diced figs)

Zest from 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon)

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

⅛ teaspoon ground star anise

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

For the Dough:

1 cup warm whole milk

1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon active dry yeast

4¼ cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup light brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

Spiced fruit mixture

2 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons kosher salt

7 tablespoons butter, softened

1 egg

1 teaspoon cold water

For the Glaze:

1½ cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons water


1. Make the spiced dried fruit: In a small saucepan, bring the water, whiskey and honey to a boil. Remove from heat, then add the tea bag and steep for 5 minutes.

2. Remove the tea bag and stir in the dried fruit, zest, spices and salt. Place the saucepan back on the stovetop and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to cool completely.

3. Meanwhile, make the dough: In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer reads 180°. Remove from the heat and cool to about 115°.

4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the warm milk and yeast, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and both sugars and allow the dough to rest in a warm place for 2 hours.

5. Strain the fruit mixture and set aside.

6. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the fruit mixture, eggs and the salt and beat on low speed until the dough begins to come together. Add the butter in small increments until the dough is shiny. Increase speed to medium high and beat until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

7. Divide the dough and shape into 12 balls. Place the balls on a well-greased baking sheet and lightly cover with plastic. Store in the fridge for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

8. Remove the buns from the fridge and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving a 2-inch space between each dough ball and let them rise for 30 minutes at room temperature.

9. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and cold water. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash. Bake until lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

10. While the buns are cooling, make the glaze: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, spices, lemon zest and water until smooth, adding more water if needed.

11. Dip the tops of the hot cross buns into the glaze or pipe a cross shape across the tops. Allow the buns to cool slightly before serving. Serve warm.

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