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A wonderful treat! Great for holidays, or a nice Sunday brunch. Enjoy! A little history: In many historically Christian countries, buns are traditionally eaten 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 claimed (no source found) 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. Cakes were certainly baked in honour of deities since very ancient times, although it is not known if they were marked. 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. In both Australia and New Zealand recently 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. This is due to the close association between Easter and chocolate, or simply to a love of chocolate in general. Czech hot cross buns called mazanecIn the Czech Republic, mazanec is a similar cake or sweet bread eaten at Easter time. It often has a cross marked on top. In the Maldives, cream jehi banas or cream buns in English is a favourite to the locals. It is fairly similar to hot cross buns.
- 4 -4 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 3⁄4 cup grated carrot
- 1⁄4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 (3/4 ounce) packages fast rising yeast
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup water
- 1⁄3 cup milk
- 1⁄4 cup butter or 1⁄4 cup margarine
- 2 large eggs
- 3⁄4 cup chopped dates
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
powdered sugar glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 -2 tablespoon milk
- 2 teaspoons butter, melted or 2 teaspoons margarine
- sliced almonds (to garnish)
- In a large bowl, combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, carrots, sugar, undissolved yeast, cinnamon, and salt. Heat water, milk, and butter until very warm (120* to 130*F). Gradually add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add eggs and 1 cup all-purpose flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in the dates and enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
- Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.
- Punch dough down; shape into 6-inch round ball. Place in greased 9-inch round pan. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1hour.
- Brush with egg white. Bake at 375*F for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. Cover lightly with foil during last the 10 minutes to prevent excess browning. Remove from pan; cool on wire rack.
- Drizzle Powdered Sugar Glaze on top of bun in the shape of a cross. Decorate cross with sliced almonds. Enjoy!
- Powdered Sugar Glaze.
- In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, milk and butter. Stir until smooth.