I always wondered about the tradition of Hot Crossed Buns during Easter time and a few years back I decided to investigate. While I understand the cross on the buns is to remind us of the Crucifixion, I knew there had to be more to the story.
Here are a few things I found out:
* Hot Crossed Buns predate Christianity, they are actually a carry over from the Saxons. The Saxons ate the buns in honor of the goddess Eostre, with the cross representing the four quarters of the moon.
* Early missionaries adopted the buns and changed the interpretation of the cross to that of the Crucifixion.
* In the early 16th century even though Roman Catholicism was banned in England, the popularity of the buns remained so Queen Elizabeth passed a law banning the eating of the buns except on Easter, Christmas and funerals.
* There are many superstitions associated with the buns : Sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if "Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be" is said at the time; hanging a bun in the kitchen assures safety from fires and perfectly baked breads; and if taken on a sea voyage they ensure safe travel.
So, while that is all interesting and I now have a better understanding of Hot Crossed Buns, that is not why I make them....I make them because they are YUMMY! I am going to share with you my simple version that I love. I am not much of a bread maker so I came across this recipe a few years back and just had to try. My family loves it. Enjoy!
You will need:
2 tubes of crescent roll dough
1 C dried cherries
1 C golden raisins
2 T crystallized ginger, chopped
1/2 C butter, softened
1/4 C sugar
3/4 t orange zest
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a square pan with cooking spray.
2. Mix Butter and zest; reserve. Combine cherries, raisins, ginger and sugar; shake up to coat fruit.
3. On a lightly floured surface, unroll crescent roll dough side by side; seal all seams to create one large piece. I use my hand roller to smooth and stretch a little.
4. Spread butter mixture over dough; top with fruit mixture. Starting with short edge, roll up. Cut into 9 pieces. Place in pan cut side up.
5. Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool.
6. While cooling, mix up glaze: 2 t milk + 1/2 C confectioner's sugar. Pipe cross on top of buns. (I use a small plastic bag with the corner snipped off to pipe the glaze on top.)
Whether you celebrate Easter, Passover, or whatever...give these a try...they are super easy and super yummy :)