Soft and with a touch of spices and packed with dried fruit, hot cross buns are usually a Good Friday treat. Skip the cross marked on top and enjoy these buns year round
Every year, as Easter approaches my mind start thinking about different Eater bread recipes. Last year I’ve shared with you a recipe for Romanian Easter bread (Pasca) , Italian Easter bread (Pane di Pasqua) and Greek Eater bread (Tsoureki). Well, today we’re visiting the Great Britain to enjoy a cup of tea with their well know Easter bread – Hot Cross Buns.
If you have never made a hot cross buns, prepare yourself to have your kitchen filled with an irresistible aroma of fresh-baked bread, spices and sweetness. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom added to the dough give these buns a nice spicy touch, while the sugar and the dried fruit bring sweetness.
I’ve read a few stories where the name actually comes from and it seems the most popular story is related to the Anglo-Saxons. The story says they were making the buns in honor of their goddess of light, Eostre, whose day was celebrating in Spring.
Other stories include a few superstitions. Hot cross buns baked and served on Good Friday do not spoil or mold during the year. Keeping a bun in your kitchen until next year to ensure all breads will rise and bake perfectly.
Other stories advice to keep a bun for medical purposes. Some say, if a piece of the bun is gives to a sick person, they will immediately recover.
There are so many stories, I have no idea which one is actually the real one, but it’s sure is fun reading about them. What’s better than reading, is actually making hot cross buns and enjoying them with a cup of tea.
Some recipes for hot cross buns suggest marking the cross before baking and filling it with a paste made from flour, water and shortening. Other recipes have the cross marked but filled right after they are baked with a sweet sugary filling. I prefer mine to be marked after they are baked and cooled.
You have to keep in mind when making the cross that the buns must be completely cooled. No warmth or the icing will melt.
Optional, if you prefer a darker color for your buns, you can brush them with egg wash (egg yolk mixed with few drops of water) before baking or if you prefer a sweet and shiny top, you can brush the buns with a sugar syrup as soon as you take them out of the oven.
My preference is to leave the buns plain. I do not brush them either with egg wash or sugar. The sugar added to the dough brings enough sweetness to the dough to give them a nice brownish color once baked.
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