I love food history, and the literature tells me that the Pagans — and I am assuming this is prior to Christianity — worshiped their deities by offering small breads with a cross affixed to it.
And, these breads were often offered to goddess Eostre from where the term Easter was coined. When Christians began celebrating Easter, this Pagan practice got carried over as a custom and the cross was given a new significance. There are quite a few superstitious beliefs attached to the hot cross buns. It is believed that hot cross buns baked on Good Friday last until the next Good Friday, and protect one’s house from fire and other dangers. Travellers carried these buns on voyages and people used the shreds of these buns as medicine. I’m not so sure about these stories, but reading about hot cross buns just made me want to bake some. And, here’s a great way to go about it.
4 cups- Flour
14 gms- Yeast
1 1/2 cup- Caster Sugar
1 1/2 tsp- Mixed spices: nutmeg,cinnamon, bay leaf, cloves and green cardamom
1 tsp- Salt
1/2 Cup- Black currants
300 gms- Butter
300 ml- Milk
Jam for glaze
1/2 cup- Flour ( for the cross)
4 tbsp- Water (for the cross)
* Combine flour, yeast, sugar, mixed spices, salt and black currants in a bowl.
* Heat the butter in a sauce pan and add the milk.
* Warm the milk for 5-10 seconds and add it to the flour. Also add the whisked egg and using a spatula bring the ingredients together.
* Knead the mix into a soft dough and transfer the dough to work station.
* Knead for another 5 minutes and transfer the dough to an oiled bowl.
* Cover with clingfilm and let the dough rest for 1.5 hours till it doubles.
* After the resting period, make 12 balls out of the buns and transfer them to a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
* Let the buns prove for another 40 minutes and they will double again.
* Preheat the oven to 190 degrees meanwhile and make a flour paste with flour and water and using a piping bag or spoon draw a cross on the buns.
* Now bake the buns for 15- 25 minutes till the top of the buns are brown.
* Cool the buns on a wire rack and brush them with some jam for a glaze.
* While serving cut the buns into half and slather some butter and enjoy with a cup of coffee.