A Very Good Friday - Saffron & Blood Orange Hot Cross Buns

A Bun Worth Baking For

We love a Hot Cross Bun for Easter but we think this one might just top our most wanted list! Taken from chef, illustrator and food writer Letitia Ann Clark's blog, we are definitely inspired to give this recipe a try! Described as "a buttery, brown sugary nod to British baking in Sardinia for Good Friday/Venerdi Santo," these spiced, golden buns are stuffed with orange-juice soaked raisins for an extra edge!

Saffron & Blood Orange Hot Cross Buns

Cook time

1 hour 15 min


4 +


Baked Treat


Letitia Ann Clark Blog



220g plain flour

120g dark brown sugar 

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg 

Pinch of ground saffron 

Pinch of ground cloves 

Zest of 2 blood oranges (save juice for later) 

20g fresh yeast 

300g warm water (blood temp)

For the final dough: 

400g bread flour 

2 egg yolks 

12g salt 

130g butter, softened 

100 g candied peel 

200g raisins 

For the Cross: 

80g plain flour 

60g water

Pinch of salt and pinch of sugar 


Step 1

Melt the fresh yeast in the warm water and then whisk all of the ingredients for the starter together and cover. Leave for 1 hour

Step 2

Meanwhile bring the orange juice to the boil. Add the raisins and then remove from the heat. Set aside for half an hour or so until the raisins have soaked up most of the juice. Pour off any excess. 

Step 3

Add the remaining ingredients for the final dough and mix in a mixer until you have a smooth, even dough. It will be fairly wet and sticky, but don’t worry. Leave to rise overnight in the fridge or at room temperature for 1hour – 90 minutes, until doubled in size. 

Step 4

Using a dough scraper and lightly oiling your scales, work surface and hands with a little flavourless oil, cut and shape the dough into balls of 120g. 

Step 5

Place the balls on a large baking tray lined with greaseproof paper a few inches apart. Tuck them away in the oven (oven is off at this point!) to keep them out of mischief. They can rise quietly here without being exposed to drafts or forming a skin due to exposure to air. 

Step 6

Let them rise for 1 hour – 90 minutes, until doubled in size. Remove the buns from the oven and turn it to 180. 

Brush the buns evenly with milk and a pastry brush.

Step 7

Mix the ingredients for the cross together in a bowl. Make a little piping bag out of grease-proof paper, decant the mixture into it. Pipe on the cross. 

Bake in the oven for 14 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and glaze, whilst still warm, with honey, a simple sugar syrup or the syrup from your candied peel. 

Eat as they are (these buns are good enough to be eaten alone) or split, toasted and topped with slabs of salty butter. 


Who is Letitia Ann Clark?

Letitia is a chef/illustrator and food writer from Devon. She trained at Leiths School of Food & Wine after a degree & Masters in English Literature. After graduating she worked in many well-known London restaurants (inc. Spring, The Dock Kitchen, Morito, Moro, Ellory-now-Leroy).

Her writing has featured everywhere from The Evening Standard and Waitrose, to The Guardian, Elle, Conde Nast Traveller and The New York Times.

She has two books - Bitter Honey: Recipes and Stories from the Island of Sardinia and La Vita è Dolce. Her third, Wild Figs & Fennel: A Year in an Italian Kitchen, will be published in April 2024. 

In 2017, Letitia moved from London to Sardinia and began writing, drawing and cooking full-time, as well as teaching English. 

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