I learned this Lent, from someone in my church group, that hot cross buns are a Catholic tradition for Good Friday. I had no idea! In fact, I had never even tried hot cross buns until a dear friend baked some for my bridal shower several years ago. Before that, I thought they were just nonsense words in a nursery rhyme song you learn to play on the recorder in elementary school music. (one a penny two a penny….) Regardless, I remember them being delicious (which made me a little confused because usually Lent means giving up all the delicious) so I decided to go do a little research.
Turns out they are indeed a traditional Good Friday food, but there are a ton of variations. The tradition is said to have started in Engand where an abbey (St. Albans if you want to know your historical detail for the day) would bake these sweet buns with a cross cut into them and give them out to the poor on Good Friday. I love that idea. The variations were as diverse as sweet vs. savory rolls, what to sweeten the rolls with, etc. I once again chose to mix and match from various online resources. For example, I included chocolate chips as my sweetener instead of dried fruit… because I used all the dried fruit I had on the irish soda bread I made last month…
WARNING: this is a time intensive project. At least the recipes I looked at were… maybe there’s a short cut I missed? Mine included three different mixing bowls, scalding and cooling milk, and about 3 hours of time total for different steps where the dough needed to rise.(that timing seems appropriate for a Good Friday baking project too, huh?) But luckily since it’s broken up into so many steps, I could practice some new baby carries and get some cleaning and dishes done along the way- while listening to Jesus Christ Superstar (it’s kind of a weird Good Friday musical theatre tradition…).
They turned out lovely! I think in future years we may need to bake these and give them away.I have some frosting from the recipe which is a pretty simple sugar glaze, but I decided against it for now and I will save it for easter morning breakfast to make them a little sweeter. We will need something quick before Easter morning service (something we aren’t used to as we usually attend Easter Vigil! But a three hour mass with our baby that goes way past his bedtime? I’m not quite ready to attempt that yet…) Any special traditions in your family for Easter?