Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday Try A New Taste - Hot Cross Buns

"Hot cross bun, a round bun made from a rich yeast dough containing flour, milk, sugar, butter, eggs, currants, and spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. In England, hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday; they are marked on top with a cross, wither cut in the dough or composed of strips of pastry. The mark is of ancient origin, connected with religious offerings of bread, which replaced earlier, less civilized offerings of blood. The Egyptians offered small round cakes, marked with a representation of the horns of an ox, to the goddess of the moon. The Greeks and Romans had similar practices and the Saxons ate buns marked with a cross in honor of the goddess of light, Eostre, whose name was transferred to Easter. According to superstition, hot cross buns and loaves baked on Good Friday never went mouldy, and were sometimes kept as charms from one year to the next. Like Chelsea buns, hot cross buns were sold in great quantities by the Chelsea Bun House; in the 18th century large numbers of people flocked to Chelsea during the Easter period expressly to visit this establishment."

---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson
[Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 114)

found on The Food Timeline

* Hot Cross Buns *
From Ray

Ingredients for bread:

  • 4 c pastry flour
  • 2 c sugar
  • ½ c ground almonds
  • ½ c vegetable shortening
  • 1 tube almond paste
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 eggs, slightly beaten

Ingredients for icing:

  • 1 c confectionary sugar
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • 1 tbsp soft butter
  • 4 tsp water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine bun ingredients in large bowl until a medium-soft dough forms. Add a little flour as needed for consistency. With your hands, shape biscuit-size balls. Slightly flatten the balls when you place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Cool. Beat icing ingredients together until smooth. Frost buns with large cross (+) with icing.


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