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Monthly Archives: March 2009

Hot Cross Bun This a sweet flavoured spiced bun containing currants or raisins and leavened with yeast. They are marked with a cross marked on the top which is usually done with white icing, but sometimes with rice paper, a plain dough mix or simple intersecting cuts. The cross is a symbol of the crucifixion and traditionally eaten on Good Friday. Although commonly used over the Christian festival of Easter the hot cross bun is believed to pre-date Christianity, although the first recorded use of the term "hot cross bun" is not until 1733. It is believed that sweet buns, marked with a cross, were eaten by Saxons in honour of the goddess Eostre with the cross symbolising the four phases of the moon. Many ancient civilizations are known to have baked buns in honour of gods, including the Greeks. In England hot cross buns were regarded as a product of the Catholic church, this was because they were produced from the same dough used to ma;e communion wafers. Queen Elizabeth I attempted to ban the sale of the buns, but this proved unpopular so a law was passed permitting bakers to sell them only at Easter and Christmas. Many superstitions exist regarding hot cross buns. It is said that a bun baked on Good Friday will stay fresh and never become stale until the following Easter. Another suggests keeping a bun for medicinal purposes, and that a small piece will cure any illness when consumed during the year. Sharing a bun with another will ensure eternal friendship. If taken on a sea voyage, a hot cross bun will prevent shipwreck. If hung in the kitchen, they will protect against firs and insure that all breads will turn out perfectly. In North America these buns usually contain candied peel. In Australia and New Zealand chocolate and spices are used instead of the dried fruit.

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