Browsing Tag

sweet buns

Baked Treats

Hot Cross Buns

March 30, 2023

“One ha’ penny, two ha’ penny, hot cross buns!” was once a British street-vendor cry heralding the sale of spiced and fruit-studded buns traditionally eaten on Good Friday. When I was a little girl, I loved the American version of these buns, soft and warm, with snow-white icing crosses piped over their glossy tops.

The buns are generally linked with Christian symbolism (crosses for Christ’s crucifixion, citrus peel for the bitterness of his last drink, and spices for his shroud) but food historians tell us they have pagan roots. Ancient Romans offered cross-marked buns to their moon goddess Diana. And before that, Saxons baked buns etched with horns in a cross-shape meant to represent the four quarters of the moon’s cycle. Briton’s went on to credit the buns with all sorts of good luck: Curing illness, protecting from shipwrecks, warding off kitchen fires and more. Me? I just like the way they taste!

Although store-bought ones come with just raisins or currants, I like extra dried fruits and candied fruit peel. My recipe plumps a mix of seedless black raisins, sultanas, dried apricots, and sweetened dried cranberries in hot rum. That, plus a few tablespoons of home-made candied citrus peel makes them delicious. The dough is spiced with a freshly grated nutmeg, Jamaiican allspice, ground cinnamon and clove. Continue Reading…