The hot cross bun is of course a spiced fruit bread bun that is traditionally eaten on Good Friday. It is adorned with a white cross made from a flour paste that symbolises the crucifixion of Christ.
This humble bun has an immense amount of superstition surrounding it. Hot cross buns are hung in kitchens to protect the kitchen from fire and to ensure that all the bakes turn out well. If taken on a sea voyage the hot cross bun is thought to protect the ocean vessel from shipwreck. It is also believed that these simple bread buns if made and served on Good Friday will not spoil or go mouldy. Other ideas suggest that hot cross buns have medicinal properties and should be given to the sick. It is also good luck to kiss the cross before eating it.
During the times of Elizabeth I the consumption of hot cross buns was prohibited apart from at burials, Christmas and Good Friday, if an individual was caught snacking at other times the goods were removed from them and given to the poor. Because of this decree the hot cross bun became associated with Good Friday and Easter.
This year I am attempting to make my own hot cross buns. I am following the recipe by the slightly paunched, silver fox, master baker Mr Paul Hollywood. His recipe is in the radio times and when I watched him making to on television a couple of days ago I have to admit that they looked mighty tasty.
As I write this the buns are resting, allowing the final rise before they go in the oven. I don't think mine will turn out to be as nice but we will see (and taste).
It's now a few hours later and my buns are out of the oven. They are delicious after all.