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Hot Cross Buns

Around Easter, the supermarkets here stock hot cross buns. I love them. They’re soft fruit buns, subtly flavored with cinnamon and other spices and studded with sultanas or currants and sometimes other fruit. On the top is an icing cross. Some supermarkets have also come up with chocolate buns and other combinations — even fruitless ones! — but for me, the only one is the traditional one. I’m having these ones for breakfast.

They’re best slathered with butter — real butter, not margarine. I left the butter out on the bench last night so it would be soft for my buns this morning, but it was a chilly night and I don’t have the heating on yet, so as you can see, the butter was still pretty firm. But never mind, they’ll still be delicious with my morning coffee.

Some people zap them in the microwave or pop them in the oven to heat them up, and if you’re baking them at home, they’re yummy straight from the oven. (There is a recipe here from a favorite site, which includes a a no-knead version, and another one from the BBC. I haven’t tried them but they’re both reliable sites.) But hot cross buns are still delicious cold. When they get a bit stale I’ll toast mine, though there’s probably no danger of them lasting that long.

I once read a regency novel where the heroine was eating “cross buns” and I blinked when I read it, and then realized that the author must be American, and was being literal because the buns were not hot. I chuckled, because hot or cold, we still call them hot cross buns, and I’ve never heard them called “cross buns” which conjures up an image of a seriously grumpy fruit buns. I suppose we call them that because of the old nursery rhyme — “Hot cross buns, hot cross buns, one a penny two a penny hot cross buns.”

When I was growing up, Mum was very strict about not eating hot cross buns until Good Friday morning, and they were a real treat. There are still people who wax furiously about them becoming available weeks before Easter. Not me. The moment I spot them in the supermarket  I snap them up. (They usually bake them in-house at my local supermarket and the smell is irresistible.) After Easter, they’ll disappear again, and though the supermarkets still sell fruit buns they are not the same — the taste is quite different — so Easter is the only time I get these yummy treats.

Whether or not you celebrate Easter (culturally or otherwise) do you have any special food you eat at this time of year?

 

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theo
theo
1 month ago

I haven’t had a Hot Cross Bun since my father’s mother passed. She could bake English like nobody’s business, she was about as British as you could get. Maybe I should try my hand at them…

Anne Gracie
Anne Gracie
1 month ago
Reply to  theo

I’ve never made them, Theo — I’d probably end up eating them all, so it’s better not to start the habit. <g> But last year my neighbors’ kids brought in some home-made hot cross buns and they were the best I’d ever tasted.

Marianne
Marianne
1 month ago

Peeps and Cadbury Creme Eggs. I dislike both, but they spell spring to my husband.

Anne Gracie
Anne Gracie
1 month ago
Reply to  Marianne

I had to look up peeps, Marianne. We don’t have them here, but I’m not keen on marshmallow anyway. My dad had a sweet tooth, and loved any kind of chocolate, but especially chocolate-covered honeycomb. Not that it was real honeycomb — a bee-keeping family knows that.

Priscilla Payne
Priscilla Payne
1 month ago

I just ordered a dozen hot cross buns from my favorite bakery. I also bake a small bone in ham so I can make pea soup next week.

Anne Gracie
Anne Gracie
1 month ago

I hope you enjoyed the hot cross buns, Priscilla. And here it’s getting cold now, and pea and ham soup sounds just the ticket.

Jeannette
Jeannette
1 month ago

Our supermarkets stock them a couple of weeks before Easter. I don’t usually get them since they sell them in packs of 6 or so, but I appreciate the tradition. I am always trying to lose a pound or two so I try to stay away from the chocolate bunnies as well. But oh, the lilies.They are so beautiful all massed together in front of the altar at church on Sunday.

So if the hot cross guns were leftovers from the fridge they would be “cold hot cross buns”? They sound sort of passive-aggressive! Thank you Anne.

Malvina
Malvina
1 month ago

I also had two for breakfast this morning, buttered with real butter. I also helped serve them up this morning after the Good Friday service at our church. 300 hot cross buns went in the twinkling of an eye! I’ve made them a few times, and that smell as they bake…mmm… They are a complete indulgence at Easter for me, along with fruit mince pies and shortbread at Christmas.

Anne Gracie
Anne Gracie
1 month ago
Reply to  Malvina

Malvina, I’m with you — while it’s fine to watch the calories, there are times when you just have to indulge in a seasonal treat. I can just imagine the smell of all those buns baking. Yum!