Hot Cross Buns

Buns marked with a cross actually predate Christianity in England and have nothing in common with the Easter story itself. It is believed that they were originally baked by Saxons to honour the goddess Eostre. However, as with many other ancient pagan rituals they have been Christianised over time and are now traditionally eaten on Good Friday, where the cross represents a symbol of the Crucifixion. Traditionally the cross was simply made by two intersecting cuts in the dough (as used in this recipe), alternatively it can be made by laying strips of a flour and water mixture across the top before baking or by piping with icing after baking.

Ingredients for Hot Cross Buns

  • 450 grams (l lb) plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon dried yeast
  • 150 ml (1/4 pint) lukewarm water
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz) warm milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 50 grams (2 oz) castor sugar
  • 50 grams (2 oz) melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 25 grams (l oz) currants (or raisins)
  • 40 grams (1.5 oz) chopped mixed peel

How to Make Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Bun with butter
  1. Sieve 1/4 of the flour with one teaspoonful of sugar and add the yeast.
  2. Stir in the warm milk and water. Then leave in a warm place for 20-30 minutes until frothy.
  3. Stir the melted butter with the egg into the risen yeast mix.
  4. Sieve the remaining flour into a large bowl with the salt and mixed spice and add the rest of the sugar.
  5. Gradually stir the yeast mixture into the flour and stir in the currants and peel to make the dough.
  6. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth. Divide this into 12 and form into buns.
  7. Put the buns on to greased baking trays, well apart, and allow to rise until doubled in size.
  8. Make 2 slashes in the top of each bun to form a cross.
  9. Bake in oven at 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F) for 15-20 minutes.
  10. While still warm, glaze with a couple tablespoons of sugar dissolved in two tablespoons of milk.

Serving Suggestions

Split the buns in two, spread with butter and serve while still warm. Alternatively they can be cut in half and toasted or just eaten as they are.

Other recipes to try: Mince Pies | Hevva Cake | Recipe Index

Recipe: Traditional
Image Credit: alisonyo (CC0)

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