• 460 ml milk
  • 120 g butter
  • 1 orange peel (about 4 cm)
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 900 g strong flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 14 g (2 x sachets) dried yeast
  • 200 g mixed dried fruit
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 0.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 egg and 2 tbsp milk for egg wash
  • for the cross
  • 8 tblsp plain flour
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 8 tblsp water
  • for the sugar glaze
  • 5 tblsp caster sugar
  • 5 tblsp water


  • Gently heat the milk, butter, cloves, orange peel in a saucepan, simmer for 2 minutes and allow to infuse for 10 minutes. Cool until blood temperature and sieve. Stir in the beaten egg.
  • Place the flour, yeast, spices, sugar and dried fruit in a bowl.
  • Pour the milk into the dry ingredients and bring together to form a ball.
  • Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes until smooth and place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap. Allow to prove in a warm place until it has doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C /fan 180°C/Gas 6.
  • Knock back the dough and divide into 15 balls and shape into buns.
  • Place the buns onto a baking tray lined with parchment, placing them fairly close together but not touching.
  • Make a cross on the top of each bun with a knife and leave to prove for a further 1 hour or until doubled in size. The buns will be almost joined. Brush the buns with egg wash.
  • Mix the flour, sugar and water to form a thick paste (place the paste into a plastic bag, cut a small corner off) and pipe a cross on each bun.
  • Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until risen and golden.
  • Combine the sugar and water together and brush over the buns while still hot.


Catherine's tips: For a sweet loaf, divide the dough between two lined loaf tins. Allow about 10 minutes more for it to bake through. Add chocolate drops to satisfy every sweet tooth. Lavender sugar replacing caster sugar is wonderful in this recipe. If you don’t have regular strong flour, use the Italian “00” flour. This freezes brilliantly but freeze when fresh!