Easter is a great time to get together with family and friends. And what better way to celebrate than to serve traditional hot cross buns straight from the oven? Australia's own Curtis Stone show you step-by-step how to create his scrumptious Hot Cross Buns for everyone to enjoy.

Ingredients:

To make the dough
⅔ cup full fat milk, warmed to 37°C
2¼ tsp instant yeast (about 9g)
⅓ cup packed golden brown sugar
2 tsp orange zest, finely grated
3½ cups plain flour
1½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, whisked to blend
80 g butter, melted
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp orange blossom water (optional)
½ cup currants, rehydrated for 20 minutes in fresh orange juice then drained well

To make the topping
1 large egg
1 tbsp pure cream
½ cup icing sugar
3 tbsp water
Butter, for serving

Directions:

To make the dough:
1. In a small bowl, mix the warm milk and yeast and set aside for 5 minutes to bloom the yeast.

2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine the brown sugar and orange zest. Using your hands, rub the zest into the brown sugar for about 1 minute, or until the zest becomes fragrant.

3. Add the flour, salt, and cinnamon and mix on low speed with the dough hook attachment to blend. Add the milk-yeast mixture, eggs, melted butter, sour cream, and orange blossom water (if using) and knead on medium-low speed for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead the currants into the dough to distribute evenly, about 3 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel, and set aside in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until the dough doubles in size.

To form the buns and toppings:
5. Punch down the dough and divide it into 18 equal-size pieces, weighing about 50g each. Form each dough piece into a ball and place them on 2 sturdy baking sheets that have been lined with baking paper. Cover the dough balls with an oil sheet of plastic wrap and set in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

6. Meanwhile, position a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan-forced). In a small bowl, mix the egg and cream to blend.

To top the buns:
7. Remove the plastic wrap from the raised dough balls. Using a pastry brush, coat the dough balls with the egg wash.

8. Bake for about 14 minutes, or until golden brown. Immediately transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

9. While the buns are cooling, mix ½ cup of icing sugar and about 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl to form a thick icing. Transfer the icing to a small piping bag or place it in a resealable plastic bag and snip off one of the bottom corners of the bag. When the buns have cooled down, pipe the icing crosses over the top of each bun and serve warm. You can also cut the buns horizontally in half and toast until golden brown. Spread with butter and enjoy.

Tips:

For a more traditional piping alternative you can whisk ½ cup of flour and 5 tbsp of water in a small bowl, creating a smooth thick mixture. Transfer the mix into a small piping bag or place it in a resealable plastic bag, the same way as you would the icing. Pipe crosses over the buns before baking them, which allows you to make the buns ahead of time, then cut them in half and toast them until golden.

Video and recipe by: Coles