Served piping hot from the oven slathered in a rich helping of butter and its Good Morning Good Friday!!
Have you ever wondered where this Easter tradition stemmed from and how can you could get your hands on some more hot buns?
Most people believe that the hot cross bun symbolizes the Crucifixion of Christ, and yes to a great extent this is the case.
The bun that we now know, serve and eat on Easter Good Friday is a symbolic gesture to a christian heritage that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. These leavened buns are traditionally made with spices and currants and crossed with a paste before being baked to a golden brown and eaten with much gusto and even more butter!
To delve a little further into our colourful history is to uncover our humble little spiced bun as a baked goodie steeped in traditions and folklore.
Some believe the origins of the hot crossed bun to be in honour of the Saxon goddess of light Eostre whom they celebrated at the time of the spring equinox in April with the cross symbolising the four seasons. Eostre is also believed to be the origin of the word Easter.
It is also said that in merry old England during the reign of Elizabeth the 1st, a squabble of sorts broke out amongst the Protestants and Catholics over what was a very popular spiced bun served throughout the land. Queen Elizabeth I attempted to ban the sale of hot crossed buns to ease the conflict but due to public outrage passed a law restricting the sale of these hot tempered baked goods to Easter and Christmas only.
Superstitions come thick and fast with the hot crossed bun, with a couple of my favourites being:
1. Hang a bun in your kitchen and it will protect you from fire- now a smoke alarm seems to do the trick. 2. If going on a sea voyage pack a little bun in your Louis Vuitton and you will be protected from shipwreck.
A few folklore’s that might make you smile are:
1. Kissing the hot cross bun before you eat it as it’s is supposed to bring you good luck. 2. Sharing your hot crossed bun with someone special will ensure a long lasting friendship.
If you need anymore reasons to eat your way through a batch of hot crossed bun I’ve included a spice infused recipe that I’ve adapted from Nigella Lawson that should get you into the kitchen and into a great Easter tradition. Or even better maybe you have a recipe you would like to share that’s tried and true. Drop me a note, I would love to hear from you!
Happy Easter everyone…. now pass me the chocolate.
Hot Cross Buns
Firstly infuse your spices by heating the ingredients below until they just come to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool and infuse further until the mixture cools to blood temperature. This little spice mix will form the flavor profile of these hot cross buns and make them extra special and tasty.
220mls of milk
50gms of butter
5 cardamom pods- slightly crushed
The zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
2 cinnamon quills- slightly crushed
1 Marsala chai tea bag- for extra spicy kick!
Into a large mixing bowl combine the ingredients listed below.
400gms of strong flour- the type used for baking bread as a high gluten content is required here
15gms of instant yeast
150gms of raisins
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
pinch of ground ginger
Remove and discard the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon quills and tea bag from the liquid and mix one egg into it. Now combine the liquid with the dry and knead the dough either by hand on a floured surface or in a mixer with a dough hook attached until the dough is smooth and elastic.If the mix is dry add a few more drops of warm water. This could take 3-5 minutes depending on the elbow grease that you apply.
Mould the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled large bowl covered with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to prove and double in size in a warm place in the kitchen for 2 hours.
Once it has doubled in size, punch back the dough and knead again until smooth. Divide the dough into small balls- approx 14- and roll into cute little balls. Place the balls on a lined baking tray so that the buns are just touching and cover with a tea towel and allow to prove again for a further 45 minutes. While this is happening preheat your oven to 220 C.
Using an egg wash made of 1 egg mixed with a touch of milk, brush this over the buns and make the cross paste using 3 Tblsp of flour, 2 Tblsp of water and a pinch of caster. Mix this together well and dribble a cross on each bun before placing in the oven and baking for 20 minutes or until the buns are golden brown and hollow sounding when you tap the bottom.
Make a fruit glaze using 2 Tblsp of apricot jam mixed together with 1 Tblsp of boiling water and brush this over the hot buns before serving with lashings of fresh butter.