Low calorie and fruit recipe from The Heart Foundation

This delicious fruity Hot Cross Buns recipe from the The Heart Foundation uses healthy fats, and is lower in kilojoules than store-bought buns. 

Usually at this time of the year you can smell the sweet cinnamon scent wafting from bakeries. Right now, we don’t have the luxury to experience such a thing – because coronavirus – but you can still keep up the tradition from your ovens at home.

Try making these delicious fruity hot cross scones for a healthy twist on the festive buns.

They’re low in calories and The Heart Foundation dietitian, Maria Packard, says the recipe “incorporates healthy fats using olive oil instead of butter and cream both high in unhealthy saturated fats.”

She added the scones “still retain the perfect texture by using ingredients like pumpkin, reduced fat milk and ricotta (instead of butter and full fat dairy products).”

According to her, this also makes them healthier.

“Reduced fat dairy foods with no added sugar are good sources of protein and calcium, and as part of healthy eating patterns, their intake has been linked to a reduced risk of high blood pressure and heart disease,” she explained.

You can also keep them in the freezer for a month – making them handy for a lazy Sunday breakfast down the track.

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Fruity hot cross scones

Serves 16: 1 scone per serve

Cooking: 20 minutes

Prep: 25 minutes


  • ¾ cup mashed Kent (Jap) pumpkin
  • ½ cup fat-reduced milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 cups wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • ¾ cup dates, chopped
  • 1/3 cup sultanas
  • ¼ cup currants
  • 100g ricotta
  • ¼ cup honey, to serve

Cross Topping

  • ¼ cup plain flour
  • 2 tablespoon cold water



  1. Place pumpkin, milk, egg, oil and honey in a large jug. Whisk to combine.
  2. Sift flours and spice into a large bowl, returning any husks remaining in sieve to the bowl. Stir in dates, sultanas and currants. Make well in centre. Add pumpkin mixture. Stir with a round-bladed knife to form a dough.
  3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead until mixture comes together. Using lightly floured hands, pat out dough to a 2½cm thickness. Cut into rounds with a 5.5 cm round cutter. Repeat step with dough trimmings, until all the dough is used, making 16 rounds altogether. Place rounds, side by side, on a lightly greased baking tray.
  4. To make cross topping, place flour in a small bowl. Stir in about two tablespoons water to form a thick paste. Spoon into a snap lock sandwich bag. Squeeze mixture towards one corner of bag. Snip tip. Pipe over rounds to form crosses.
  5. Bake in a 190c oven (fan-forced) for 18-20 minutes, or until scones are evenly browned.
  6. For glaze, place honey in a small heatproof bowl. Microwave honey on HIGH for 10 seconds, until hot. Brush hot honey over scones.
  7. To serve, split warm scones in half, lightly spread with ricotta and drizzle with a small amount of honey.


You will need to cook about 250g peeled, chopped pumpkin to give ¾ cup mashed pumpkin. Replace mixed spice with ground cinnamon or ground nutmeg, if preferred.

These scones can be frozen for up to 1 month. Separate into individual scones and seal in a freezer bag. To serve, warm individual frozen scones in a microwave oven for about 20 seconds, or wrap a batch of scones in foil and heat in a 160C oven (fan-forced) for 10-15 minutes.