A tray of these just-baked buns are de rigueur on Good Friday, but delicious anytime. This quick-bread recipe means you don’t have to wait for the dough to rise.
Step 1: Heat the oven Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and lightly grease a cooking sheet or line one with foil or parchment paper.
Step 2: Mix ingredients In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
Step 3: Add butter Cut the butter into the dry ingredients, using a pastry cutter or your fingertips. The texture should be that of coarse crumbs, with visible bits of butter.
Step 4: Stir in fruit Stir in the raisins or currants, and the zest.
Step 5: Beat wet ingredients In a separate bowl, beat the cottage cheese, egg, and one-half teaspoon of vanilla with an electric mixer or whisk until smooth. Then, add it to the dry mixture, and blend until a dough forms.
Step 6: Knead the dough Lightly flour a clean surface and knead the dough for about 10 seconds, or until it holds together in a neat ball.
TIP: To make kneading easier, dust your hands with flour and sprinkle a little extra flour on the dough, too.
Step 7: Form buns Form the dough into a 12-inch log. Cut the log crosswise into 12 equal pieces, shape each piece into a ball, and cut a deep cross on the top of each with a knife.
Step 8: Bake Evenly space the buns out on the baking sheet and bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until they turn golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let them cool a few minutes before adding the icing.
Step 9: Add icing Mix the powdered sugar, milk, and the rest of the vanilla until smooth, and drizzle it onto the cross you baked into each bun. Serve while they’re still warm.
FACT: The cross on hot cross buns, which represents the Crucifixion to Christians, originally symbolized the four seasons by dividing the bun into quarters.