Six Things you probably didn’t know about Hot Cross Buns:
- Traditionally eater on Good Friday, hot cross buns are brimming with Cristian symbolism: you have bread representing the body of Christ, spices as per those that Jesus was wrapped in in the tomb, and of course, the cross.
- In 1592, Queen Elizabeth I decreed that hot cross buns could no longer be sold on any day except for Good Friday, Christmas or for burials. They were simply too special to be eaten any other day.
- The first reference to hot cross buns comes in an 18th century ditty that goes “Good Friday comes this month, the old woman runs, With one or two a penny hot cross bunns.”
- Due to their blessed marking of the cross, hanging a hot cross bun in your kitchen is said to protect from evil spirits, to prevent kitchen fires, and to ensure that your bread stays fresh and mold free all year round. They are also said to protect against shipwreck when taken on a sea voyage.
- Those who share a hot cross bun will enjoy a strong friendship all year round according to an old rhyme: “Half for you and half for me, between us two, good luck shall be.”
- The ancient Greeks may have been the first to mark their bread with a cross, so we can thank them for all our good luck this year!
Recipe: Lemon and Chocolate Hot Cross Buns
(Adapted from a Paul Hollywood Recipe)
For the buns:
300ml whole milk
500g strong white flour
75g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
7g sachet fast-action yeast
50g unsalted butter
1 egg, beaten
80g mixed peel, chopped
1 apple, cored and chopped
zest of 1 lemon
100g dark or white chocolate (depending on preference)
1 tsp mixed spice
1tsp ground cinnamon
sunflower oil, for greasing
For the cross:
75g plain flour + water
For the glaze:
3 tbsp apricot jam or runny honey
– bring milk to the boil, then remove from heat and leave to cool until lukewarm.
– mix together flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter and egg in a bowl, then slowly add the warm milk until it forms a soft, sticky dough.
– add sultanas, mixed peel, chopped apple, mixed spice and cinnamon, then tip out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface
– knead dough by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself – repeat for about five minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
– put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise for approximately one hour, or until doubled in size.
– knead in lemon zest and chocolate, then divide the dough into 12 even pieces, and roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured surface.
– arrange the buns on a baking tray lined with parchment, leaving enough space so that the buns just touch when they rise and expand. Set aside to prove for another hour.
(Preheat oven to 220*c)
– for the cross, mix the flour with about five tablespoons of water in small bowl, adding the water one tablespoon at a time, so that you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.
– bake buns for 20-25 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven, or until golden-brown.
– gently heat the apricot jam or honey (jam will need sieving to get rid of any chunks). While the jam/honey is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool. Gently rip the buns apart to serve, and spread with lashings of butter.