Auld Lang Syne
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Sure, these are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, but the sweet, tasty little buns are so darling that there’s no reason you shouldn’t eat them on Easter as well–or in September for that matter.
I’ve always been in love with the name “hot cross bun”. It just sounds so quintessentially English and makes me think of Beatrix Potter. These sticky, spicy treats are best known for their distinctive cross shape (cut into the top of the bun, traced in icing or a floury paste, or made with strips of pastry) that symbolizes the cross that Jesus Christ was crucified on. It is a yeast bread studded with dried fruit and covered in a shiny glaze.
|Hot Cross Buns, a photo by garryknight on Flickr.|
Some speculate that the hot cross bun reaches back to ancient Babylonian goddess-worship (a far-flung surmise, in my opinion), or Saxon fertility rites, and others will go so far as to attribute them to the Aztecs. But the first recorded use of the term “cross bun” is English, and doesn’t occur until 1733 (they weren’t called “hot” until the 19th century), so it’s likely that they are exactly what they purport to be–an English, Christian baked good.
|Jan 29/12 Homemade Hot Cross Buns, a photo by Jude Doyland on Flickr.|
According to PracticallyEdible.com, there is a great deal of lore surrounding these humble buns.
So enough of history and literature, let’s get to the yeasty bit.
There’s a recipe at WildYeastBlog.com for traditional hot cross buns. This involves a pre-prepared yeast starter which you might find more trouble than it’s worth. In that case, check out this recipe from JoyOfBaking.com for the buns made in this video. And, if you’re the kind who’d rather salivate over photos than actually get your fingers dirty, you have to check out ThePioneerWoman.com to see her gorgeous food photography.
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