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Hot Cross Buns

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A hot cross bun, or cross-bun, is a sweet, yeast-leavened, spiced bun made with currants or raisins, often with candied citrus fruits, marked with a cross on the top. The cross can be made in a variety of ways including: of pastry; flour and water mixture; rice paper; icing; two intersecting cuts. They are traditionally eaten at Easter but in the UK they are now sold all year round'.

In many historically Christian countries, buns are traditionally eaten hot or toasted on Good Friday, with the cross standing as a symbol of The Crucifixion. They are believed by some to pre-date Christianity, although the first recorded use of the term "hot cross bun" is not until 1733.

It is believed that buns marked with a cross were eaten by Saxons in honour of the goddess Eostre (the cross is thought to have symbolised the four quarters of the moon), "Eostre" is probably the origin of the name "Easter". Others claim that the Greeks marked cakes with a cross, much earlier.

According to cookery writer Elizabeth David, Protestant English monarchs saw the buns as a dangerous hold-over of Catholic belief in England, being baked from the dough used in making the communion wafer. Protestant England attempted to ban the sale of the buns by bakers but they were too popular, and instead Elizabeth I passed a law permitting bakeries to sell them, but only at Easter and Christmas.

English folklore includes many superstitions surrounding hot cross buns. One of them says that buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil or become mouldy during the subsequent year. Another encourages keeping such a bun for medicinal purposes. A piece of it given to someone who is ill is said to help them recover. Sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if "Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be" is said at the time. Because of the cross on the buns, some say they should be kissed before being eaten. If taken on a sea voyage, hot cross buns are said to protect against shipwreck. If hung in the kitchen, they are said to protect against fires and ensure that all breads turn out perfectly. The hanging bun is replaced each year.

In the UK, the major supermarkets produce variations on the traditional recipe such as toffee, orange and cranberry, and apple and cinnamon. In Australia a chocolate version of the bun has become popular. They generally contain the same mixture of spices but chocolate chips are used instead of currants. In the Czech Republic, mazanec is a similar cake or sweet bread eaten at Easter time. It often has a cross marked on top.


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References

Hot cross bun , en.wikipedia.org

HOT CROSS BUNS , www.fabulousfoods.com

Hot Cross Buns , www.dltk-holidays.com