Recipe by Manna From Devon Cooking School

“We first made these rather exotic sounding hot cross buns as part of a creative baking class here at the cooking school. The combination of marmalade and star anise worked brilliantly and we have made them several times since.”


Ingredients:  makes 12 large or 16 medium buns hot cross.

For the buns:

  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 10g fast acting yeast (2 tsps)
  • 75g light brown sugar or golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 275ml full-fat milk
  • 60g butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100g sultanas or raisins
  • I large tbsp orange marmalade
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1½ tsp ground star anise

For the egg wash:

  • 1 small egg beaten with a tiny pinch of fine salt

For the cross:

  • 75g plain flour
  • Water

For the glaze:

    • 2 tbsp caster sugar
    • 2 tbsp water


  • Heat the milk until it just comes to the boil. Turn off the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature.
  • Put the flour, salt, sugar, orange zest and yeast into a bowl. Pour in the warm milk and butter, then add the beaten egg. Mix well then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough. Cover and leave for 20 – 30 minutes.
  • Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for 1½ hr or until doubled in size.
  • Put the orange juice and dried fruit into a small pan. Heat until the juice comes tothe boil. Turn off the heat and allow the fruit to absorb the juice for 1 hour. Strain off the excess juices and let the fruit dry off a little.
  • Once the dough is risen add the soaked fruit, marmalade and star anise to the bowl and knead it in until well distributed. Leave to rest for 15 minutes before cutting and shaping.
  • Divide the dough into 16 medium buns weighing about 70 – 75g each or 12 larger buns weighing about 95g each. Roll each piece into a smooth ball and arrange on one or two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand.
  • Cover lightly with oiled cling film, or a clean tea towel, then set aside to rise. It may take up to an hour for the buns to be well risen. Heat your oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.
  • Mix the flour with water to make the paste for the cross – add the water 1 tbsp at atime, so you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle.
  • Brush the buns with egg wash then pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses. Bake for15 – 20 mins until dark golden brown.
  • Heat the sugar and water together and boil for a couple of minutes. While the buns are still warm brush the glaze over each one.