If you had noticed during the past days this week we were posting only either vegetables or seafood dishes that is because it is Holy Week. You might be wondering why? Well it is a practice in most of the Christian faith specially the Catholics that during these days everyone should abstain from eating meat and only vegetables and seafood are to be consumed. Today instead of posting vegetables or seafood dishes we will go traditional and nothing is more traditional than Hot Cross Buns.
Hot Cross Buns is a spiced sweet bun infused with raisins marked with a cross on top. Traditionally this type of bread is consumed during Lent which starts from the evening of Mardi Gras (the evening before Ash Wednesday) through Good Friday, while this was never introduced in the Philippines it is popular in a lot of Christian countries like England, New Zealand and Australia. The most common feature of this bread is the cross on top which symbolizes the Crucifixion, but even before Christianity was established some say this type of bread already existed. History suggests that this bread was eaten by the Saxons in honour of the Pagan goddess Eostre and the cross in this context was used to symbolize the four quarters of the moon. During those times this bread was not yet popular or even used widely in Lent until in 1300’s when a monk distributed the buns to the poor on Good Friday, this act of good gesture was copied by different monks in other monasteries and it is where the tradition then started. It started to become popular with Christians first but pagans used them eversince so the early Christian church attempted to ban them. Then 1600’s came and Elizabeth I of England remove the ban and legalized them by associating them with Christian holidays, the rest is history.
Today it is very popular, you can buy it in bakeries or even supermarkets when the Lenten season arrives. Many version even emerged like chocolate, toffee, apple/cinnamon, orange/cranberry to name some. Today we will be posting some chocolate chip version and here is how my resident baker (the lovely wife) had made it.
- 4½ plain flour
- 6¾ tsp yeast or 3 packets
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1½ cups milk, lukewarm
- 50g butter, melted
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1½ cups chocolate chips
- 1 cup raisins
- ¼ cup sugar
- 3 tbsp hot water
- ½ cup white chocolate buttons
- In a small bowl combine together milk, sugar and yeast, set aside for 15 minutes in a warm place.
- Place flour and salt in mixing bowl then the raisins, chocolate chips, melted butter, egg and yeast mixture. Turn mixer to low and knead for around 5 minutes. Remove from the mixing bowl and place in a separate container, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 1½ hours.
- At this stage dough would be twice its volume, deflate them divide into 16 pcs.
- Place them in a baking tray lined with baking sheet, cover it again with plastic wrap and let it rise for 20 minutes.
- Remove plastic wrap and bake in a 200C preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Prepare your glaze by dissolving sugar in hot water, once buns are cooked brush the top with the glaze.
- Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler or short microwave busts then once melted place them in a piping bag. Pipe crosses on top of the buns then serve.