Hot cross buns,
Hot cross buns,
One a penny,
Two a penny,
Hot cross buns.
In spite of the solemnity of the Good Friday that is approaching, there is something we can all look forward to, as Easter arrives. That’s right, you guessed it: HOT CROSS BUNS!!! Also known as Easter buns, here’s a little history lesson on these delicious fluffy buns…
What are they, anyway?
A hot cross bun is a buttery, brioche-like bun which is sweet, with a hint of spice, and authentically contains currants or raisins. It authentically has a white cross marked over it and boasts of a shiny, transparent glaze.
Why do we eat them?
Because they are delicious, duh?!
Technically, yes, because why in the world would we if they weren’t?! Traditionally, however, they are eaten to mark the end of Lent, which is the 40 days before Easter Sunday, where dairy is abstained from by practising Christians (and hot cross buns contain dairy).
What is the symbolism?
The bread represent the communion a.k.a the body of Jesus. The spices, the spices Jesus was wrapped with in the tomb. The cross, well, the cross.
What is the history behind it?
There are several references for this. One goes back to the 1700s from The Poor Robin’s Almanac: “Good Friday come this month, the old woman runs. With one or two a penny hot cross buns.” Another goes back to the 14th century, where it is said that a monk from St Albans Abbey by the name of Brother Thomas Rocliffe created these buns and handed them out to the less fortunate on Good Friday.
See, the trouble with tracing down these traditional folk food and their bonafide origins is that no one wrote about them during the early period when they were first created. So the least we could do is to just appreciate and enjoy them!
How are they made?
They are made with strong bread flour which gives them their fluffy yet pleasantly chewy texture, eggs, butter, full-fat milk and yeast. Currants or raisins are then added in along which spices such as cinnamon, and orange zest for its citrusy note.
A paste made with flour and water is then used to draw the mandatory cross. It is baked and afterward brushed with a shiny coat of glaze.
Folklore has it that bread made between Good Friday and Easter will not go mouldy and is a good luck charm to all who consume it.
They can be eaten hot or cold, buttered or dry, basically any way you like, so get yours today!