Hot cross buns have been associated with the Christian holiday of Good Friday for hundreds of years, although some people believe they have been baked since long before that and were simply adopted by Christians. Christian or not, the lore surrounding this simple confection is fascinating, and the buns themselves are delicious. Traditionally containing currants or other dried fruit, Cinnamon and spices, topped with icing, these buns are supposed to ensure friendship throughout the year with anyone you share them with, and once you try one you will see why.
The oldest Christian lore surrounding hot cross buns states that sometime in the 12th century an Anglican monk placed the cross on the buns to celebrate Good Friday, which at that time was called "The Day of the Cross". The actual recipe is said to pre-date this however, it is believed that the Saxons ate buns marked with a cross to honor the goddess Eostre. It's thought that worship of the pagan goddess was so firmly rooted that early Christian missionaries adopted "Easter", hot cross buns and many other pagan traditions into their own yearly celebrations. Hot cross buns came to be made of the same dough used to make communion bread. Because of this, they were believed to have special healing powers and to bring good luck. Some traditions say that a hot cross bun baked on Good Friday and hung from the kitchen ceiling can bring luck to your household, ensure all your bread rises, and ward off fires. There is a popular saying, "Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be". If you share a hot cross bun with a friend it will ensure good relations between you for the rest of the year. In the 16th century, early Protestant monarchs saw the buns as a hold-over from Catholic rule in England and attempted to ban them. Their overwhelming popularity made this impossible, and Queen Elizabeth I passed a law allowing them to be baked only at Easter and Christmas.
Recipe from Pioneer Woman
Ingredients (makes approx 18):
- Spices: Cardamom, Nutmeg, Allspice (optional)
- Splash Of Milk
- Powdered Sugar
- Splash Of Milk