Truthfully these are the best buns I have not only ever made but also ever eaten! I did exactly what it says but instead of the whole crosses thing, I just dipped my finger in honey and rubbed it gently onto the hot buns.... perfect!
For the buns
625g/1.3lb strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground mixed spice
45g/ 1.5 oz unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
1 lemon, zest only
1½ tsp fast-action yeast
1 free-range egg
275ml/10fl oz tepid milk
125g/4oz mixed dried fruit
For the topping
2 tbsp plain flour
vegetable oil, for greasing
1 tbsp golden syrup, gently heated, for glazing
1. For the buns, sieve the flour, salt and ground mixed spice into a large mixing bowl, then rub in the butter using your fingertips. Make a well in the centre of the mixture, then add the sugar and lemon zest and yeast.
2. Beat the egg and add to the flour with the tepid milk. Mix together to a form a soft, pliable dough.
3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Carefully work the mixed dried fruit into the dough until well combined. Knead lightly for 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
4. Grease a large, warm mixing bowl with butter. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into the prepared bowl, then cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for one hour to prove.
5. Turn out the proved dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knock back the dough. Shape it into a ball again and return it to the bowl, then cover again with the tea towel and set aside for a further 30 minutes to rise.
6. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten slightly into a bun shape using the palms of your hands.
7. Grease a baking tray with butter and transfer the buns to the tray. Place inside a large polythene bag. Tie the end of the bag tightly so that no air can get in and set aside in a warm place for a further 40 - 60 minutes to rise.
8. Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/Gas 8 while they are rising.
9. Meanwhile, for the topping, mix the plain flour to a smooth paste with 2 tablespoons of cold water.
10. When the buns have risen, remove the polythene bag and the greaseproof paper. Spoon the flour mixture into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each bun.
11. Transfer the buns to the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. As soon as you remove the buns from the oven, brush them with the hot golden syrup, then set aside to cool on a wire rack.