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Pumpkin and Spelt Hot Cross Buns for Easter

April 2, 2023

Easter is a Spring event in the northern hemisphere but here in the southern hemisphere, we’re surrounded by falling leaves, apples, quinces, figs and pumpkins. Like a good pumpkin scone, the addition of sweet pumpkin puree not only adds to the warm-spice flavour but gives them a beautiful colour. With the tease of sweet, freshly baked aromas swirling in the air it’s easier to justify devouring another knowing that using rapadura sugar, wholemeal spelt flour makes these delicious buns just a little bit healthier than the regular kind. Every little bit counts right?


(Makes 12 buns)

Bun Dough

350 ml milk

60 g butter

400 g plain four

200 g + extra wholemeal spelt flour

90 g rapadura or raw caster sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground all spice

¼ tsp fresh grated nutmeg

140 g currants

30 g mixed peel (optional)

2 tsp dried instant yeast

1 large egg

½ cup (150 g) pumpkin puree


2 tbsp self-raising flour

2 tbsp cold water


⅓ cup sugar

¼ tsp cinnamon

150 ml boiling water


  1. Warm the milk & butter together until the butter is melted.
  2. Place the dry ingredients, except the yeast into a large bowl and make a well. Spoon the yeast into the well and mix through about ½ cup of the warm milk mixture until a creamy consistency. Leave 2 – 3 minutes until frothy.
  3. Add the rest of the milk mixture, egg and pumpkin puree and incorporate to make a sticky soft dough. Scrape down the edges and cover with plastic wrap. Leave for 20 minutes.
  4. Turn out the dough onto a well floured surface and then separate it into 12 equal portions. Gently roll into balls and then place the buns close together in a paper lined lamington tray. Allow to rise for 20 – 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 220°C. To make the crosses, mix the flour and water thoroughly to form a thick paste. Spoon into a zip-lock bag, cut a little hole out of the corner of the bag and use it to pipe the mixture in crosses on top of the buns.
  6. Bake the buns for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 200˚C. Bake a further 15 minutes.
  7. To make the glaze, mix together all ingredients, dissolving the sugar in the boiling water. Simmer for 3 – 4 minutes. Brush glaze over the buns lightly while still hot. Allow to cool on a cake rack.

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