(Makes 15 buns)
For the buns
300ml full-fat milk, plus 2 tbsp more
500g strong bread flour
1 tsp salt
75g caster sugar
1 tbsp sunflower oil
7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast
1 egg, beaten
50g mixed peel
Zest of 1 orange
1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
For the cross
75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
For the glaze
3 tbsp apricot jam
- Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add the egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix well, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a dough.
- Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hr.
- With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Leave to rise for 1 hour more or until doubled in size (again covered by some cling film to stop the dough from getting a crust).
- Divide the dough into 15 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 cling film or a clean tea towel, then set aside to prove for 1 hour more.
- Heat oven to 200C fan/gas 7. Mix the 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 minutes 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.