Roasted Apple, Crystallised Ginger, and Sultana Hot Cross Buns with Salted Caramel Crosses. Soft buns are filled with roasted apple and sultana, and are finished with a salted caramel cross.
Hello! happy whatever day this is! I made these yesterday and wanted to pop up the recipe - I already have two hot cross bun recipes on my site, this chocolate cardamom one and this more traditional one from last year, and you all seem to be baking up a storm with them, but I wanted to also add in another version. This roasted apple, ginger and sultana bun is finished in the standard method with a pastry cream cross, but this time I made the pastry cream as a salted caramel version, which worked incredibly well with the fruit.
The process of all my buns is the same really - you make a dough, fill it with goodies, shape into buns and then rise and score, then bake off so that the cross you have scored on top opens up, making the perfect trench to pipe in pastry cream. You can absolutely make these with a more traditional cross, but I love pastry cream more than most things in life, so it really does make sense to get as much goodness into these as you can. I absolutely won’t be going back to a traditional cross now that I know just how good these are!
I switched up the spices a little for these buns, making them a little more ginger forward, and then added in some apple, which I roasted with some cinnamon and sugar before hand just to add more flavour and help dry out the apple a little so that it wouldn’t make the buns soggy when they baked. I then added in some chopped up crystallised ginger (which I love so much and should use more), and then some sultanas. The combination was really nice, but feel free to leave out either the sultanas or the ginger (or the apple even) if you don’t have them or don’t like them, just sub in some more fruit.
Also, Mix and match these! I have a custard cross and a 'traditional’ fruit bun here, and a chocolate one here, you can mix and match the crosses. Chocolate bun with salted caramel cross!?! Happy bunning! xx
A few wee tips:
I made these buns into 20 - arranged 4 across and 5 down. If you would like them slightly larger, follow shaping instructions for the dark chocolate cardamom buns.
I like to make the pastry cream while the dough is doing its first rise, then place it into a piping bag with a clip both above the tip and above the pastry cream, then cool it directly in the piping bag which helps to prevent a skin from forming
I did these all in one day, but the first rise can absolutely be done overnight in the fridge if you wanted to have them first thing in the morning - the second rise post shaping may take a little longer.
The dough for these will seem a little softer than you are used to - I jammed a whole lot of milk and butter into them, which makes for the most lush, soft bun. Just trust me on this one - it makes it easy to roll them too!
I kneaded the fruit in by hand toward the end. It will feel really weird and wet squishy to start off with, but just keep kneading and incorporating - you can add a teeny bit of flour to the surface if you need, but it will all eventually incorporate. I like to pat the dough into a rectangle, scatter the fruit over the top, then kind of fold it up into a package and start kneading from there.
Mix and match these! I have a custard cross and a 'traditional’ fruit bun here, and a chocolate one here, you can mix and match the crosses. Chocolate bun with salted caramel cross!?!
If you have leftover pastry cream, use it in place of butter! It is so epic spread onto the buns.
Also you can mix and match your fruit. If you don’t want to add ginger, add more sultanas, or more apple etc. Just make it up - the dough is super forgiving and so can take it.
When you are rounding these off, the dough has a tendency to spit all the fruit out to the edges. I found that lightly flouring my surface when I was rounding the dough balls meant that you ended up with dough on the outside and most of the fruit on the inside.
I listed the apple ingredients first, and then the other ingredients. You will want to roast your apple ahead of time to give it time to cool. Same with the pastry cream - I either make it before I start working on the dough, or as it is mixing just to give it time to cool enough. I chill it directly in the bag with a clip above the tip and also at the top of the bag.
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A note on salt and oven temperature
It is important to note the type of salt that is called for in a recipe. I use Diamond Crystal salt throughout my recipes - if you use a different sort of kosher salt or regular table salt you will need to adjust accordingly as some salt is 'saltier' than others. Morton's salt is twice as salty, so you will need half the quantity. Same goes for a regular table salt. I am working to get gram measurements throughout my recipes for salt but still getting there.
All oven temperatures are conventional unless otherwise stated. If you are baking on fan / convection, you will need to adjust the temperature. An oven thermometer is a great investment to ensure that your oven is the correct temperature.
Using the double / triple function in the recipe card
You will notice that there is a '1X' '2X' '3X' button in my recipe card. This can be used for doubling or tripling a recipe. However, please note that this only doubles the ingredient quantities in the ingredients list and NOT in the method. If there are quantities or pan sizes in the method of the recipe (for example weigh out 150g brown butter), you will need to scale this number manually. It will also not change the baking time in the recipe so you will need to adjust this yourself too. It is always a good idea to read through a recipe fully before doubling it just to check this. If you would like to scale this recipe or convert for another pan size, use my calculator!
Tools and equipment
For a list of my go-to tools and equipment, I have a post you can refer to here.
Why is this recipe in grams?
I post my recipes in grams as it is the most accurate way to bake. Cups are not only inaccurate but they vary in volume worldwide. There is no way for me to provide one cup measure that works for everyone. However, posting in weight fixes this issue. If you would like the recipe in cups you are welcome to convert it yourself via google, but please do not ask me to do it for you as I am not comfortable providing a recipe using a method that I have not tested. Baking with a scale is easy, accurate, and also makes cleanup super simple. Here is the scale that I use if you would like a recommendation! Here's to accurate baking!Print
Soft hot cross buns are filled with roasted apple and sultana, and are finished with a salted caramel custard cross - a perfect Easter treat.
- 750g apple, peeled and diced into small chunks
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
Hot Cross Bun Dough
- 340g whole milk, lukewarm
- 120g brown sugar, divided
- 3 tsp active dry yeast
- 590g all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Roasted apples from above
- 80g sultanas, golden raisins or regular raisins, soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes and drained
- 75g crystallised ginger, finely chopped
Salted Caramel Custard Cross
- 175g whole milk
- 120g heavy cream
- 120g Sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 25g cornstarch
- 36g Sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 20g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 60g water
- 50g Sugar
- ¼ tsp vanilla bean paste (optional)
- tiny pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 400°f / 200°C. Toss the apples, sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl and spread over a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are just tender and seem to have dried out a little (remember they will get baked again so we don’t want them too soft here, just to dry out a bit). Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- Place the lukewarm milk, 15g of the sugar, and the yeast in a medium sized bowl, and stir to combine. Leave for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, place the remaining 105g sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.
- Add the milk mixture and vanilla bean paste to the dry ingredients, and mix on low for 2-3 minutes. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes. Add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is incorporated until adding the next piece. Mix for a further 7-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and soft.
- Turn out the dough onto a work surface (I do not find that there is a need to flour, but add some if needed), and knead in the fruit by hand (see notes). It will take longer than you expect but the fruit will eventually incorporate into the dough.
- Shape the dough into a ball, and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, 1 to 1 ½ hours, or place in the fridge overnight. While the dough is proofing, make the pastry cream.
SALTED CARAMEL PASTRY CREAM
- Place the whole milk and cream in a small saucepan, and place over low heat. You do not want to boil the mixture - you just want to warm it so that when it hits the hot caramel, it does not seize.
- Place the first measure of sugar into a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, and place over medium to low heat. Heat, stirring constantly. The sugar will start to form clumps, then begin to melt.
- Cook until is it amber in colour, then remove from the heat and add the warmed milk and cream mixture, whisking briskly to help it incorporate (it will take a lot of whisking to emulsify in). Set aside briefly while you prepare the egg mixture to make the pastry cream.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the salt, the second measure of sugar and the corn starch, then add the egg, egg yolks and vanilla, and mix well to combine.
- Whisking constantly, add half of the caramel mixture into the egg and cornflour mixture to temper the egg yolks. Whisk briskly for 30 seconds. Transfer the caramel-yolk mixture back to the pot, and return to a medium heat. Whisk constantly until very thick.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, mixing well until totally combined. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip - place a clip above the tip and seal the bag with another clip. Place in the fridge to cool.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, and weigh the dough. Divide the weight of the dough by 20, and divide the dough into 20 equal sized pieces.
- Roll each tightly into a ball, then arrange evenly on the baking sheet, in a 4 by 5 arrangement, leaving a little space between - don’t space them too far apart if you want them to join together in the oven to give the ‘classic’ hot cross bun look.
- Lightly cover the pan with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place for about 45 minutes, or until puffy and the dough springs back when lightly pressed with a finger.
- Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Using a sharp paring knife or razor blade, score crosses in the buns.
- Bake the buns for 25 minutes, then remove from the oven and pipe the pastry cream in crosses in the holes provided by the scoring.
- Return the buns to the oven and bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes, or until the buns are lightly golden brown, or until they register 200°f / 90°c on an instant read thermometer. While the buns are baking, prepare the sugar syrup.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool, before brushing on the sugar syrup (recipe below).
- Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes, then leave to stand until ready to use.
Store leftover buns in an airtight container at room temperature. Reheat in the microwave briefly before eating. Serve with butter.
Keywords: Hot Cross Buns, Salted caramel, roasted apple, pastry cream, salted caramel pastry cream