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Spicy Hot Cross Buns with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese

Written by Marly Schimmelschmidt on March 27th, 2013.      0 comments

Easter is one of my most favourite holidays.  Having a four day weekend certainly contributes to this favouritism, but this is only a bonus on top of spending time with family and friends, getting time in the kitchen, and generally being allowed to cook and bake for more individuals than usual. Further, I love hot cross buns, and truth be told, this is the most acceptable time in the year in which they can be baked.  This year my  hot cross buns will have a Mad Millie twist, not just served with ordinary cream cheese, but with home-made vanilla bean cream cheese............swoon!  Happy Easter!

For the Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese:


  •  2 cups of heavy cream (unwhipped)

  • 2 cups of full fat milk

  • A few grains of Mad Millie Mesophilic starter culture

  • ½ a tablet of Mad Millie vegetarian rennet dissolved in 1/8 cup of cool, non-chlorinated water

  • 0.5ml Calcium Chloride

  • 1 Vanilla bean

  1. Mix together the milk and cream, and scrape in the vanilla bean seeds , before leaving the entire vanilla bean in the mixture.

  2. Heat the mixture to 22°C

  3. Now add the calcium chloride, the starter culture and lastly the rennet and mix through for about 30 seconds.

  4. Put this mixture aside and leave undisturbed for 24 hours at approx. 20°C to set.

  5. After 24 hours pour your mixture through a butter muslin (cheese-cloth) lined colander, before tying the corners of the cheese cloth together and allowing it to hang and drain for 6 hours, or until it reaches the desired consistency.

  6. Remove the cream cheese from the butter muslin and use as preferred.





For the Spicy Hot Cross Buns:
For the dough:
  •  500g white flour

  • 1 sachet of active dry yeast (or 2 teaspoons)

  • 55g sugar

  •  50g currants

  •  50g Diced dried apricots

  •  30g Mixed peel

  •  Zest of 1 orange

  •  300ml warm milk (not hot)

  •  55g unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)

  •  2 tsp ground cinnamon

  •  1 tsp all spice

  •  ½ tsp ground ginger

For the egg wash:

  •  1 egg

  • 2 tbsp milk

For the cross (if desired):

  •  75g white flour

  • 40g cold butter (cut into small pieces)

  •  A little water to get the right consistency

For the sugar glaze:

  •  1 tbsp caster sugar

  •  1 tbsp boiling water 

MM creamcheese and hot cross buns 2jpg - blog


Step 1: Mix together the flour, sugar, salt and spices.

Step 2: Add the butter pieces and rub through the flour using your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse breadbrumbs.

Step 3: Add the dried fruit, orange zest and mixed peel

Step 4: Sprinkle over the yeast and finally, pour over the warm milk and mix together thoroughly.

Step 5: Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Place into a lightly oiled bowl, in a warm place and cover and leave to rise until doubled in size (approx. 2 hours depending on conditions).

Step 6: After the dough has risen, punch it down and knead it again for a further 2 minutes. Now divide the dough into 12 even pieces and roll each bun into shape.

Step 7: Sit the buns on a greased baking tray in such a way that they are not touching,  and very lightly score the tops of the buns with the cross imprint using a knife (if you desire it).

Step 8: Now cover the buns with a tea-towel and leave to rise for another 40 minutes (or until well risen).

Step 9: Brush the risen buns with the egg milk wash, before mixing the flour, butter and water into a paste and lining the indent of the cross with this.

Step 10: Bake for 12 - 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 220°C, or until the buns are golden brown.

Step 11: When the buns come out of the oven, mix together the sugar with the boiling water for the glaze and brush each bun generously.




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