1. In a large mixing bowl add the flour, salt, sugar, mixed spices, yoghurt, grated apple, tea, and melted butter and stir in well with a wooden spoon
2. Dissolve the yeast into the warm milk and add to the mixing bowl to form a soft sticky dough. Note: a little more flour might be needed at this stage depending on the size of the eggs
3. On a well floured worktop, knead the dough well for 10 minutes until smooth and silky
4. Place back into the mixing bowl and cover with cling film or a clean tea towel until tripled in size (90 minutes) to get the flavours developing
5. Once risen well, gently deflate the dough then pat out to a large circle. Place the bag of soaked fruits / nuts in the centre of the dough and fold the sides into the middle to form a large ball
6. Gently knead the dough with two hands ensuring you keep turning it till the fruits are evenly distributed and have popped through the top of the dough
7. Scale the hot cross buns off at 100g pieces or 500g for a small tea loaf.
8. Mould the hot cross buns round ensuring the seam is at the bottom of the ball, then place onto a well buttered baking tray allowing room to prove up. If you are doing the loaf, roll the dough slightly oblong to fit the loaf tin, again ensure the seam is at the bottom.
9. Egg wash then cover with a damp tea towel, lightly oiled plastic or polythene and leave in a warm place for approximately 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
10. Once doubled in size, cross the buns / loaf and bake in a preheated oven at 220°C (425°F) gas mark 7 for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Bake the bun loaf for 25 – 30 minutes.
Once baked, glaze at once and place onto a cooling rack.
Allow to cool if you can, then enjoy them toasted with lashings of butter!
Recipe by Mike Armstrong – find more of his ideas on Facebook Baker Mike