To quote a Madonna lyric, "I'm not religious, but I feel so moved...", pretty much sums up my urge to make my first batch of hot cross buns since pastry school (i.e. a very long time ago). With Easter approaching, shops have been lining their windows and shelves with all things buns, bunnies, eggs, and chocolate. Admittedly, I don't celebrate Easter as a religious holiday. Much like Christmas, I see it as a vehicle to bestow sweet goodies onto the kitchen crew, as well as bring something nice home to the hub.
Seeking a little help and advice through my ever so reliable Twitter universe, I was led to quite a few different recipes, all of which sounded delicious. I finally settled on one given to me by @SwtProvocateur, and I'm glad I did. Original hot cross bun recipes call for currants, but I subbed dried cranberries and apricots instead.
Granted, they could've benefited from another half hour of rising, but I honestly was so eager to taste one, I just put them in the oven anyway. A brushing of syrup while still hot gives them an enticing shine. A single bite of these buns will punch you in the mouth with yeasty, zesty flavor, with cognac soaked fruit to linger long after chewing. Even the embedded cross is tasty, and lends a beautiful crunchy contrast to the soft, chewy bun.