1) Make the water roux. Mix flour, coffee and water in a small saucepan. Cook over low to med heat, stirring continuously until 65ºC (not boiling). It should have thickened to a paste at this stage, that is when you stir you can see the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and set aside while you prepare the dough.
2) Sift bread flour, plain flour, mixed spice, cinnamon, caster sugar and salt onto the working surface. Add instant dry yeast and mix well. Form the flour mixture into a well. Add lightly beaten egg, lukewarm milk and water roux and mix in. Gradually add lukewarm water to form a slightly sticky, soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
3) Knead in butter until incorporated. Incorporate dried fruit a little at a time. Form the dough into a round ball and let it rise until double in size in a large greased bowl, cover with cling film. To test if the dough has risen properly, dip a finger into bread or plain flour and poke down into the centre of the dough as far as your finger will go and pull out again – the hole should remain. If the dough springs back, then it is not ready, continue to prove further.
4) Punch down, knead briefly and form into a ball shape. If you prefer more fruit, roll the dough out on a floured surface and sprinkle a little more fruit. Roll into a log, then divide into 16 equal portions. Form each into balls and put into a lined/oiled cake tin or roasting dish, allowing a little space between each ball. Cover with clingwrap and let rest until double in size.
5) Glaze buns with additional beaten egg, or milk. Pipe the cross over the buns. Bake in preheated 200°C oven for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
6) Optional: glaze with melted apricot jam if you like your Easter buns sticky and sweet.
Note: you can do step 2 and 3 using a breadmaker following the manufacturer’s settings for ‘dough’.