Hot cross buns are one of my favourite things to eat when I was young. Having grown up with Chinese bread which is quite sweet, I have a special affinity with sweet bread in general. This pear and cardamom hot cross bun recipe combines two of my favourite flavours into one bread, and I hope you give this a go!*
If you don’t already know, I freakin’ love pear flavoured things from my childhood favourite, Pear Picking Porky lolly pop (how awesome if that name!), to the Juicy Pear Jelly Belly bean! Cardamom in bread is something I acquired a love for when I was travelling in Helsinki and Stockholm. It’s just so warming, especially on the cold days we seem to keep having in Manchester; it’s such a shame that I can’t find it easily here.
Cooking tips for this recipe
For the pear, cut into small pieces, then put it into the oven at 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas mark 6/400°F for 20 minutes to draw some of the moisture out from the pears. (I made the mistake of putting these in fresh first time round and the dough got too wet as a result).
If using cardamom pods, take the seeds out and ground them to a powder manually. I used a small bowl and the end of a rolling pin to do this as I did not have a pestle and mortar. This step takes a fair amount of time and the most effort in the recipe; I did this whilst watching an episode of something on the TV to make the chore easier. I have since been informed that you can buy cardamom powder in some specialist shops or online.
This recipe is very simple to make, but you will need to set at least 4 hours total as the bread requires proofing for 1 hour three times. You can also get the kids involved, especially at the bread kneading stage where they can really get their hands messy.
Don’t forget that hot cross buns are not just for Easter, they are delicious throughout the year! These pear and cardamom hot cross buns are delicious straight out from the oven but they also taste gorgeous once cooled. I love mine halved and toasted with plenty of butter and a nice cup of tea; I recommend a chai tea! These buns keep for a week in a sealed container or 2 weeks in the fridge.
I’d like to thank Oven Pride for giving me the opportunity to make this hot cross bun with a twist as part of a Hot Cross Bun challenge! With the Oven Pride Hob Cleaner, I can easily get rid of the apricot jam stains I made whilst making these!
Pear and cardamom hot cross buns
For the buns
- 4 tsp cardamom pods seeded and grounded or 3 tsp cardamom powder
- 5 pears peeled, cored and chopped
- 300 ml milk or soy milk
- 50 g butter or vegetarian alternative
- 500 g strong bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 75 g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 7 g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast
- 1 egg beaten or 85g apple sauce
- 75 g sultana
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- plain flour for dusting
For the cross
- 75 g plain flour
- 5 tbsp water
For the glaze
- 3 tbsp apricot jam
- If you are grounding your own cardamom, this takes the most time and I like doing this in advance so I don't have that much work to do when it comes to actually putting the hot cross buns together. Use a pestle and mortar or the end of a rolling pin and a bowl.
- Cut the pear into 1cm chunks and put into the oven at 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas mark 6/400°F for 20 minutes to draw some of the moisture out from the pears.
- Heat the milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Add the butter to the milk, mix well and leave to cool until warm enough to touch.
- Mix the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a bowl.
- Make a well in the centre of the bowl and pour the milk and butter mixture in, then add the egg/apple sauce.
- Using a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients together until you can form a dough using your hands.
- Tip the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heel of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat this for 5 mins until smooth and elastic.
- Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and over with oiled cling film
- Leave to rise in a warm place for one hour or until doubled in size and a finger pressed into it leaves a dent.
- Add the sultanas, cardamom, roasted pears and cinnamon to the bowl.
- Knead the ingredients into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed.
- Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise for one more hour, or until doubled in size.
- Divide the dough into 16 even pieces (about 75g per piece).
- Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface.
- Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand.
- Cover (but don’t wrap) with more oiled cling film, or a clean tea towel.
- Leave to prove for one more hour.
- Heat oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas mark 7/425°F.
- Mix the plain flour with about 5 tbsp water to make the paste for the cross – add the water 1 tbsp at a time, so you add just enough for a thick paste.
- Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.
- Bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.
- Gently heat the apricot jam to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.