I think the key flavours of hot cross buns are the mix of dried fruit and spice - in this case I've used mixed spice and cinnamon. The dried fruit are sultanas and glacé orange. While I detest mixed peel, I adore glacé orange. To balance out the sweetness of the sultanas you need something with a little tang - I suppose you could substitute finely grated orange zest if the glacé orange is hard to find.
To make the cross, I've gone for an easy option - using icing sugar & water mixed to a thick paste, I've piped out the cross on the cooked muffins. If you want to be more creative, pipe the crosses using melted white chocolate.
Hot Cross Muffins
[Makes about 16]
300 grams plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
50 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
150 grams sultanas
50 grams glacé orange, diced
80 grams melted butter, cooled
½ cup milk
½ cup buttermilk
Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon powder together into a bowl. Stir through the sultanas.
Sprinkle a spoonful of the flour mixture over the diced glacé orange and stir - this will coat the orange with flour and help stop them from sticking together. Add this to the flour mix and stir through.
Lightly whisk the eggs with the milk and buttermilk.
Briefly stir the cooled, melted butter through the flour mix before tipping in the egg mixture. Stir until it is just combined - the key to a soft muffin is minimal mixing.
To keep with the hot cross bun theme I've used square cases but you can use regular muffin cases and pans if that is all you have.
Three-quarter fill the cases and place on a baking tray. Cook in a preheated 170°C/340°F oven until golden and cooked through - about 15 to 20 minutes.
Let them cool slightly before piping on the cross.
Best enjoyed just warm - inside they are light in texture but well studded with fruit.