Good Friday = Hot Cross Buns

According to tradition Hot Cross Buns are served on Good Friday. It’s a Christian tradition, or is it?  It could be called an Anglican tradition, because it was made popular in England when Elizabeth I declared it the Good Friday treat.  Hot Cross Buns, however, predate Christ. They were a pagan tradition of spiced, whole wheat, yeast raised buns with fruits and spices.  The cross on the top represented the four seasons.  The bun evolved through the years and due to its inclusion of sugar, eggs , fruits and spices, it became reserved for special holidays.  So, now we serve them on Good Friday.  At some point the legend of the bun became one of protecting the baker who bakes them on Good Friday and anyone who shares them, for the whole coming year.  It is also said that they will not mold in the whole year.  I’m not sure this is proven, because they usually don’t last.

My mother loves Hot Cross Buns, maybe for the tradition, and I can remember her making them or buying them for us from the bakery. Since I’m spending a few days with Mimi, mom, my mother, I decided to bake the buns at her house, hence the choice of the EASY recipe.  I turned to my favorite baking source, for guidance.  I used the recipe, however, circumstances mandated some adaptations.  There was no ground cloves on hand, so I steeped several in about ¼ cup of the milk to get the flavor. Then I found the lemon grater and used that to shave off a few heads of the cloves and some lemon zest too.  I used less nutmeg than called for because my parents now don’t like nutmeg.

Proper tools are important for the success of your baking, however, sometimes you must improvise. If I was cooking the lamb roast today, I would have several cross references for the internal temperature, but an adequate mixer? No can do.

I didn’t remember this. Nutmeg is one of my FAVORITE spices.  I also did not have “good” flour. Not going to go into it, but at home I have 4 different types of King Arthur flour. I would have used all-purpose, whole wheat  or bread flour for these.  Perhaps the most challenging thing for me was the lack of an adequate mixer.  I know our grandmother’s did it all by hand, but for an “EASY” recipe you should have a dough hook and an electric appliance. I muddled through with one beater on a hand mixer. I would have liked to have kneaded it more. At any rate, the buns are done and Good Friday can proceed.  Mimi liked hers and hopefully I can share with her neighbors.

Happy Easter!

Hot Cross Buns ready to be gobbled up.

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