this is something i have always wanted to try making - they were a favourite of my father, and i have always been intrigued by the mechanics behind the white crosses on top. so, pretty excited to find this recipe (thank you baking is hot).
of course, in the spirit of never doing anything the way you're supposed to, i swapped out 1/3 of the raisins for candied peel (don't hot crossed buns always have peel? that is how i remember them...). herewith, a how-to.
1 cup sugar
a spoonful of corn syrup
1. slice the peel thickly off a navel orange with a sharp knife. eat the pulp.
2. cut the peel into sticks about 1/4" wide.
3. place in a small saucepan, cover with cold water, and place over high heat. allow to boil 2 minutes, then drain.
4. heat 3/4 cup water, 3/4 cup sugar, and a good squeeze of corn syrup in the same small saucepan. when the sugar is dissolved and it reaches the boil, return the peel to the pot. lower to a simmer, cover, and let cook 15 minutes. then uncover and cook for an additional 30 minutes. drain.
5. once the peel has drained and cooled, you can either separate the pieces and roll them in sugar (a tasty snack, and nice dipped in chocolate too) or if using in baking, place the lot on a sugared cutting board and chop into pieces, adding more sugar if needed to keep the pieces separate.
the buns themselves were very tasty, and just what i remembered from childhood. i barely kneaded the dough at all (my friend gayle suggested my problem with conventional bread recipes is that i probably overknead - and i was always worried about underkneading!) and they came out just lovely, tender with a nice even crumb. yum!