Lemon & marzipan hot cross buns

Lemon & marzipan hot cross buns

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(8 ratings)

Prep: 45 mins Cook: 30 mins plus 3 hrs proving

More effort

Makes 12

A zesty twist on an Easter favourite, serve with creamy lemon curd and watch these tasty hot cross buns disappear

Nutrition and extra info

  • after baking
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per bun

  • kcal389
  • fat8g
  • saturates3g
  • carbs68g
  • sugars27g
  • fibre3g
  • protein9g
  • salt0.6g
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  • 250ml full-fat milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a 'complete' food…

  • zest 2 lemons



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 50g butter,cubed



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 500g strong white flour, plus 140g/5oz for the crosses and extra for dusting
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 85g golden caster sugar
  • 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 1 large egg, beaten, plus 1 egg to glaze
  • vegetable oil or sunflower oil, for greasing
  • 200g marzipan, chilled
    Marzipan cake



    One of mankind’s oldest sources of sweet pleasure, marzipan needs to contain only ground…

  • 100g mixed dried fruit
  • 50g candied lemon peel (or use mixed peel)
  • 1 tbsp lemon curd, to glaze, plus extra to serve
  • salted butter, to serve



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…


  1. Warm the milk and lemon zest in a small saucepan until steaming. Remove from the heat and add the butter, swirling the pan until it has melted and the milk has cooled slightly.

  2. Mix the flour, cinnamon, sugar, yeast and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl. Pour in the milk mixture and the beaten egg, and combine with a wooden spoon until the mixture clumps together. Tip out onto your work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 mins – the dough should bounce back when pressed with your finger. Transfer to a clean oiled bowl, cover with cling film or a tea towel and leave to rise for 2 hrs or until doubled in size.

  3. Dust your largest baking tray with flour. Tip the dough onto the work surface and knead again to knock out any air bubbles. Roll the dough to a rectangle roughly 30 x 40cm. Grate the marzipan on the coarse side of a cheese grater, straight onto the dough, covering the whole surface. Scatter over the dried fruit and candied peel too. From one of the longer edges, roll up the dough into a tight sausage shape. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 12 equal pieces, then lightly roll each piece into a smooth ball, closing the cut edges. Try not to overwork the dough or you’ll lose the layers of marzipan. Instead, pinch the sides together in a purse shape, concentrating on creating a smooth surface on the bottom (which will become the top). Arrange the balls on the tray, smooth-side up, leaving a small gap between each one. Cover loosely with a piece of oiled cling film and leave somewhere warm to prove for 1 hr or until almost doubled in size – the buns should be just touching.

  4. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Brush the buns with a little beaten egg. Mix the 140g flour with enough water to make a thick, smooth paste, then transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle (or use a sandwich bag and snip off one corner). Use the paste to pipe crosses over the buns. Bake for 25 mins until deep golden brown and cooked through.

  5. Mix the lemon curd with 1-2 tsp water to loosen it a little, then brush over the top of the buns. Leave to cool for 10 mins on the baking tray. Serve warm from the oven or toasted, with butter and lemon curd. Will keep for up to 3 days in a tin, or freeze for up to 2 months.

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Comments, questions and tips

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31st Mar, 2019
Lovely recipe! Instead of rolling in the marzipan, I cut it into little cubes and mixed it into the buns, amazing!
sllyst's picture
30th Mar, 2016
I agree with the comments here that the they come out more like swirls. I'm not sure how, with the rolling it up in a sausage, it can come out any other way without over-working the dough and losing the marzipan. I just don't think you can get marzipan into hot cross bun, sadly. The fruit is the in clumps too. The dough is lovely and light but I had to leave mine to prove a second time for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. I couldn't taste the lemon in the dough either. That all being said, they still tasted good but i'd stick to traditional buns next time.
25th Mar, 2016
Revising my earlier review - after toasting these and spreading with salted butter these will be the only hot cross buns I make from now on - amazing.
ClaudiaWankleman's picture
25th Mar, 2016
I'm usually very pleased with the recipes in the GoodFood magazine but these buns were not good at all. The first problem was that the dough was SOOOO sticky, unworkable, I washed more down the sink trying to get it off my hands than were in the actual bun! My worktop still hasn't recovered from the attack of the rampant dough. Secondly, as stated by a previous poster, the rolling up method does not work well for this. The dried fruit and globules of marzipan promptly fell out the second I tried to roll. To add to this, the dough was so determined to stay put on the worktop (even with my overzealous use of flour) that cutting them as the recipe asked for was impossible. I ended up ripping the dough apart to get the log of dough apart. I naively thought that I could possibly save them from being only suitable for the bin by piping a neat cross over each one. I was wrong. The mixture was dough like in consistency and came out of the piping bag in blobs rather than straight lines. Overall, this was one of the poorer recipes from the BBC and I would certainly not recommend making them. They tasted nice but the process to get to the point of eating them and the terrible look of them did not make up for this.
24th Mar, 2016
Made these today and they are lovely - recipe worked well. However I don't think the rolling up technique works - you can't seal up both sites without working the dough a lot. They're more hot cross roll-ups than buns.
7th Mar, 2016
A lovely twist to original hot cross buns. Loved the marzipan and the lemon glaze. I have never tried to make hot cross buns before, and although I am always trepidatious about using yeast in products, these worked really well. They rose beautifully and were fluffy and light and were slightly sweeter than original hot cross buns. The only thing that I didn't like about the recipe was the flour paste to pipe on the crosses. I felt the mixture 'splogded' ( perhaps because I didn't get they consistency of the paste right) and was stringy, making if difficult to produce neat straight lines. They were 'almost' successful but they looks a little untidy, and I was a bit unhappy with the finished result. They were delicious, however, and I will make them again, but will make a pastry and cut strips to decorate the buns with., to improve the aesthetic appeal. Good recipe though, and I would recommend
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