¾ cup butter, melted, then cooled to lukewarm
1 cup milk
3 tsp active dry yeast
½ cup sugar
1 ¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp nutmeg
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups currants
1 tsp lemon zest
1 egg (for egg wash)
1 1/3 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs milk
In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat milk to lukewarm. Pour into bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with dough hook. Turn mixer to low, then add yeast, sugar, salt, melted butter, spices and eggs. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, until a soft, somewhat sticky dough forms; about 3 minutes. Continue to knead, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl and hook, about another 4 minutes. Add currants and lemon zest and knead to combine.
Onto a well-floured surface, turn out dough knead by hand to incorporate currants; about 2 minutes. Shape dough into a ball and place in a large, buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm place to rise, about 1 ½ hours (or overnight in the fridge for a richer dough), until doubled in size.
Line an 11 by 17-inch baking sheet with parchment paper, Silpat (or use butter). Set aside. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces (a little more than 2 oz each) and shape into tight rolls. Place ½ -inch apart on baking sheet. Cover and set aside to rise for another hour, until doubled in size (the rolls will be touching). Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk egg with 1 tbs water and a pinch of salt. Lightly brush tops of buns with egg wash. With a buttered, very sharp knife (or clean razor), slice a cross into top of each bun. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
For glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioner’s sugar, lemon juice and milk. Pipe or drizzle glaze into crosses.
For bread pudding: Slice five hot cross buns into cubes. Toss with 3 tbs melted butter, then ¼ cup brown sugar. Place in baking dish. Whisk together 2 eggs, ¼ cup cream ½ cup milk. Pour over bread and leave to soak 15 minutes. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, or until set.