Combine the yeast with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the milk in a bowl; whisk until the yeast is dissolved. Cover and stand in a warm place for 10 minutes or until frothy.
Sift the flour, spices and salt into a separate bowl; rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Stir in the remaining sugar along with the fruit, yeast mixture, egg and 80ml warm water, or enough to make a soft dough.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Return to the bowl, cover loosely with oiled clingfilm. Leave in a warm place for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead well to knock out all the air, then cut into about 20 pieces and shape into balls.
Place, almost touching, in a circular pattern on a greased oven tray. Stand in a warm place for 20 minutes or until the dough is almost double in size.
Preheat the oven to 220°C, fan 200°C, gas mark 7.
Make the flour paste; sift the flour into a bowl, add the sugar then gradually stir in 3 tablespoons of cold water to make a smooth paste. Put the paste in a piping bag and pipe crosses onto the buns.
Bake the buns for 15 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped.
Meanwhile combine the ingredients for the glaze with 1 tablespoon of water in a small pan and stir over a low heat, without boiling, until the sugar and gelatine are dissolved.
Transfer the buns to a wire rack and brush the tops with the glaze.
Cook's tip: Hot cross buns freeze well so why not get ahead for Easter, or make a double batch for later. Brush the glaze on after defrosting, then warm through in the oven.