REAL Chefs with Chantelle Nicholson – Hot Cross Buns

Chantelle Nicholson is the multi-award winning Chef Patron at Tredwells, in the West End’s Seven Dials, as well as Group Operations Director for Marcus Wareing Restaurants. As one of the UK’s leading female names in the hospitality industry, Chantelle’s impressive ascent on the culinary career ladder and achievements to date, set her apart as a remarkable talent and a source of inspiration to hospitality professionals across the UK. She appeared in the 7th episode of our REAL Podcast, back in September 2019.

Chantelle Nicholson is donating to Hospitality Action.


Hot cross buns – recipe


  • 35g mixed peel
  • 30g prunes
  • 60g raisins
  • 30g currants
  • 25ml brandy
  • 100g milk
  • 2cm fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 nutmeg, grated
  • 250g strong flour, plus 20g for the crosses
  • 4g fast acting yeast
  • 20g soft brown sugar
  • ½ tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50g butter, diced
  • 2 eggs; 1 beaten together with the white of the other
  • 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 20g caster sugar


Cover the fruit in the brandy then top up with boiling water so just covered. Leave to soak for at least and rum for 1 hour, preferably overnight, until plump. Drain off the liquid and reserve.

Place the milk and 25ml of the soaking liquor into a small saucepan. Add in the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves & bay leaves. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat, cover and set aside to infuse for 1 hour.

Mix the dry ingredients together then rub in the butter.

Drain off the milk mix and add to the mix along with the egg. Add in the dried fruit. Knead, in a cake mixer if you have one, for 15 minutes or until the dough becomes stringy. Place in an oiled bowl, cover, and leave in a warm place for 1.5-2 hours until it has doubled in size.

Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface & knead together lightly to form a rectangle so the dough is roughly 3cm high. Cut the dough into 8 squares and shape gently. Place in an oiled baking dish or tray and cover loosely

Knock back the dough and mix in the fruit. Place in an oiled, square dish, cover with and leave to prove for around 1.5 hours, until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 200℃.

To make the paste for the crosses, place the flour in a small bowl with the oil and 1 tablespoon of cold water. Mix to form a smooth paste.

Brush the buns with the egg yolk then pipe the crosses over the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden and cooked through.

Make the glaze by boiling the caster sugar with 75ml of the soaking liquid for 4 minutes, then brush liberally over the warm buns.



Follow Chantelle Nicholson on Instagram | Remember to tag us into your posts when you try this recipe #REALChefs

Return to the REAL Chefs page