It all began so well…

….when I found this recipe for Nigella’s spicy hot cross buns in an old magazine….

175ml/6fl oz milk

50g/2oz butter

zest of 1 orange

1 clove

2 cardamom pods

400g/14oz bread flour

1 tbsp caster sugar

7g easy-blend yeast

100g/4oz mixed dried fruit

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ginger

next time I would use up to twice as much fruit and spice (you called them spicy Nigella)

1 egg

1 egg, beaten with a little milk

CROSSES – 3 tbsp plain (all purpose) flour, 1/2 tbsp caster sugar, 2 tbsp water

SUGAR GLAZE – 1 tbsp caster sugar + 1 tbsp boiling water or warmed apricot jam/honey

I had all I needed. Hurrah! I carefully measured everything out and followed Nigella’s instructions, mostly……with some *adaptations*….

1. Heat the milk, butter, zest, clove and cardamom pods in a saucepan until the butter melts, then leave to infuse. Measure flour, sugar, yeast, dried fruit and spices into a bowl. When the infused milk has reached blood temperature remove clove and cardamom and beat in egg. Pour this liquid into the bowl of dry ingredients.

2. Knead the dough and if too dry add a little more warm milk or water. Keep kneading until you have a silky, elastic dough. Form into a ball and place in a greased bowl covered with cling film. Leave to prove overnight in the fridge (or 1 1/2 hours in a warmish place).

3. Punch the dough down and knead again until smooth and elastic. Divide into 16 pieces and “shape into smooth round buns”. Oops.

4. Sit the buns on a lined or greased baking sheet, snug but not touching. Score the bun tops with a cross. Cover and leave to prove again for about 45 minutes – they should have risen and almost joined up.

5. Brush buns with egg wash then mix flour, sugar and water into a smooth thick paste. Using a teaspoon, dribble two lines into the cross indentations and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with the glaze.


1. Place bowl of dough in warm place such as airing cupboard and forget about it until 10pm.

2. Don’t bother shaping into smooth round buns because it’s too late to bother now – you just want wine and a lump of cheese.

3. Forget to score a cross in the top.

4. Make the cross paste way too runny and create a blobby mess.

5. Abandon any idea of taking them to granny’s for lunch.

I give you my Hot Cross Nobblies…

and I’ve picked a winner