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Hot Cross Buns for Good Friday

By: Ardis E. Parshall - March 30, 2010

Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns!
One ha’ penny, two ha’ penny,
Hot cross buns!
If you have no daughters, give them to your sons.
One ha’ penny, two ha’ penny,
Hot cross buns!

It apparently took the approval of Elizabeth I to allow these spiced-currant buns to be sold in English pastry shops in celebration of Easter (supposedly they are made from the same recipe as communion wafers; I can’t vouch for that). Shakespeare and hot cross buns! The woman deserves our eternal gratitude!

Whatever their origin and history, hot cross buns are a traditional treat for Good Friday. Here is my mother’s recipe; there are many variations. You may like them with currants even if you don’t like raisins. Or make them with chocolate chips. Bake some this Friday – and have the icing ready to pipe on the warm buns, or your family will eat ‘em up before you have time to decorate.

2 packages yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup scalded milk
1/2 cup oil or melted shortening
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sifted flour
1/2 to 1 tsp. cinnamon
3 beaten eggs
2/3 cup currants
2-1/2 to 3 cups sifted flour

Soften yeast in warm water. Mix scalded milk, shortening, sugar and salt; cool to lukewarm. Sift 1 cup flour and cinnamon; stir into milk mixture. Add eggs; beat well. Stir in softened yeast and currants. Add 2-1/2 to 3 cups flour (enough for soft dough), beating well. Cover dough with damp cloth and let rise in warm place till doubled, about 1-1/2 hours. Punch down and turn on lightly floured surface. Roll or pat to 1/2 inch thick. Cut in rounds with 2-1/2-inch biscuit cutter; shape in buns. Place on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Cut shallow cross in each bun with sharp knife. Brush tops with slightly beaten egg white. Bake at 375 degrees 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly on rack. Pipe on crosses of powdered sugar frosting. Serve warm.



9 Comments »

  1. Have been eating Hot Cross Bins for weeks now, sooooo yummy! Here we add mixed spice and nutmeg into the mix, and never ever have I seen buns with chocolate of any description, but that could be an interesting experiment. Our crosses are made with plain flour and water mixed then piped on top, and the glaze can also be made with warmed golden syrup.We eat them, split, with butter (no forks mandatory!)

    When I moved to Scotland 20-something years ago, the locals had no idea what Hot Cross Buns were, or their Good Friday significance, so either it was a specifically English custom or the peeps in Ayrshire were a little isolated!.

    Comment by Anne (U.K) — March 31, 2010 @ 3:41 am

  2. The locals here (in an Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn) also have no idea what Hot Cross Buns are. Years ago, when I asked the teenaged girl behind the counter of the local bakery “Do you have Hot Cross Buns?” all I got was an embarrassed smirk.

    Comment by Mark B. — March 31, 2010 @ 6:41 am

  3. You’ve brought back great childhood memories of Mom putting a pan of hot cross buns in the oven to warm. I now have to drive 25 miles to get the best hot cross buns I have ever tasted. Last year I tried to find a recipe so I could make my own. No luck.

    Thanks again, Ardis, for a wonderful post. I didn’t know the buns were an English creation, but this makes sense. In the last few years the buns have disappeared from my local neighborhood grocery stores. I can buy exotic Indian, Vietnamese, Italian or Mexican foods, but no hot cross buns.

    Comment by Phoebe — March 31, 2010 @ 10:14 am

  4. […] Easter season (usually Easter Sunday) often means family meals; each family will have its own food traditions. Some eat fish and honeycomb. Others do a ham dinner. Some have breakfast traditions. Some families may eat foods such as hot cross buns (one family’s recipe is here). […]

    Pingback by How Mormons Celebrate Easter | Mormon Women: Who We Are — April 1, 2010 @ 2:59 am

  5. mmmmmm…a hot cross bun with butter and strawberry jam on top. Love ‘em!
    But… do you fancy eating a hot cross bun baked in 1821? take a nosey at this link

    Comment by Peter Fagg — April 3, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

  6. Oh, my goodness! Hot petrified cross bun!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 3, 2010 @ 1:09 pm

  7. Please help me get the recipe for cinnamon rolls that my sister has made for years and she uses the Latter Day Saints
    cookbook and says there are none like these.
    Can you help me?

    Sincerely,

    Meredith

    Comment by Meredith Hovey — December 26, 2013 @ 4:23 pm

  8. Meredith, there have been literally thousands of Mormon cookbooks published — almost every ward and stake puts out a cookbook every few years, and has done so for generations. There must be scores if not hundreds of cinnamon roll recipes in those books. There wouldn’t be any way for anyone to guess which cookbook or which recipe your sister uses. Why don’t you ask her for it?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 26, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

  9. Here’s a good cinnamon roll recipe, Meredith. It’s very well reviewed — almost 500 5-star reviews — and I’ve always had good success with it. (I usually cut the frosting at least in half, sometimes more.)

    Cinnamon Rolls

    Comment by Amy T — December 26, 2013 @ 9:13 pm

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