Melbourne’s Chez Dre pays homage to the classic boulangeries and patisseries of France, where attention to detail is sacrosanct – and that extends to the hot cross buns.

A few years ago, French head baker Quentin Berthonneau didn’t even know what hot cross buns were. But he’s come a long way since then, with a recipe perfected over three years. His soft and decadent spiced chocolate buns are a fusion of dark and white chocolate: “I use dark for the flavour and white for the sweetness,” he says.

Chocolate hot cross buns
Serves 12

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65g orange, whole and peeled
6g fresh ginger
200ml water
335g bakers flour
30g sugar
6g salt
15g fresh yeast (or 8g dried yeast)
33g butter, chopped
16g milk powder
17g cocoa powder
13g mixed spice
90g dark choc chips
60g white choc chips

Chocolate cross mixture
65g plain flour
10g cocoa powder
1tbsp baking powder
85ml water

100g sugar
50ml water

In a food processor, blitz together the whole orange and fresh ginger until a smooth pulp forms. Combine water and orange pulp in a stand mixer.

Add all remaining dough ingredients, except for the chocolate chips. With a dough hook, mix on a low speed for approximately 5 minutes. Then increase the mixer to a medium to high speed and mix for a further 3 minutes. The dough should be shiny and have some elasticity. If not, keep mixing for a maximum of 5 more minutes.

Add chocolate chips and mix on a low speed until the chocolate is dispersed evenly. It shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes.

Transfer dough to a greased bowl and let it ferment at room temperature for 1–2 hours until it almost double in size. When ready, chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or until the next day. This will help develop flavours.

Divide the dough into 12 equal portions, and shape them into buns. Place on a lined baking tray, set approximately 1 finger-space apart

Allow to proof at room temperature for approximately 60 to 90 minutes. The buns should be ready when they double in size, and spring back slightly to the touch.

Mix together ingredients for the chocolate cross until well combined. Pipe a cross onto each bun.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 175°C for approximately 18–20 minutes, or until they turn a dark golden colour. (Baking times may vary from oven to oven.)

To make the glaze, dissolve the sugar and water over a low heat on the stove.

When the buns are ready, glaze them with the sugar syrup. Serve warm.