Friday, March 29, 2013

Hot Cross Buns, Again.

The Harper’s Bazaar edition of April 1900 which gave us yesterday’s Easter Egg recipes also included one for Hot Cross Buns. I have given you recipes for Hot Cross Buns previously, but there is always room for one more, and anyway, I liked the introductory words:

FOR days before Easter the shop windows are gay with Easter gifts, Easter favors, Easter novelties of all sorts. Even those to whom Lent has been little more than a name feel the influence of the spring gladness the approaching festival brings. The Easter thrill is in the blood, and it is natural that there should be a desire to express the inner spirit by some outward and visible sign. It is the effort to do this which fills our homes with blossoms, that moves us to send Easter cards and tokens to our friends, and that prompts us to make the children about us joyous by the bestowal of rabbits, colored eggs, baby chicks, and the other quaint and pretty emblems of the season. The housekeeper who marks the calendar of the year in the kitchen, as well as out of it is seeking diligently just now the dishes suitable for this feast. In some respects the task is less easy at this festival than at others, since there is no time-honored convention concerning Easter. With the Easter breakfast the work is comparatively simple. It is not so long after Good Friday that cross-buns are yet out of season, and the leftovers can be made hot and crisp for the Sunday breakfast. Eggs are a sine qua non, and instead of converting them into an omelet or other made dish, they would better be served whole. If it does not seem sufficiently festive to have new-laid eggs boiled in the shells, they may appear as stuffed or deviled eggs, retaining thus their natural shape, and crisp from frying or masked with a white or anchovy sauce. Colored eggs of ice-cream each egg placed in an individual nest of spun sugar make a pretty dessert. In circumstances where for any reason the spun sugar and ice-cream are not feasible, an excellent home-made substitute can be provided by a hen’s nest  of preserved orange-peel shredded to imitate straw.

Hot Cross Buns.
Make a sponge of a cup and a half of milk, half a yeast-cake dissolved in half a cup of warm water, and flour enough to make a thick batter. Set in a warm place overnight. In the morning add two large spoonfuls of butter, melted, half a cup of sugar, a salt-spoonful of salt, and as much cinnamon or gratedd nutmeg. Work in more flour until the dough can be handled, kneading it well. Cover, and let it rise in a warm corner for five hours longer, then roll out into a sheet about half an inch thick, and cut into rounds, like biscuit. Lay them in a buttered baking-pan, let them rise half an hour, cut a cross upon each, and put into the oven. When they are baked to a light brown brush over with white of egg beaten up with fine sugar, and take from the oven. For a large supply double the quantity.


srhcb said...

Elizabeth David (again!) relates the story that Protestant English monarchs view Hot Cross Buns as a dangerous symbols of Catholic belief, baked from the consecrated dough used in making the communion wafer. They tried unsuccessfully to ban the sale of the but they were too popular, so Elizabeth I passed a law permitting bakeries to sell them, but only at Easter and Christmas.

The Old Foodie said...

I read somewhere that the "cross" on the buns predates the crucifixion, and actually represents the crossed horns of the ox - an associate of the Goddess Oestra - an ancient Scandinavian goddess of Spring. I guess it may be one of those things that will never be solved though.