Monday, 1 April 2013

FOOD: Hot Cross Buns

Easter in the US is far more much about the religious meaning of the holiday over anything I've ever experienced in the UK. Food wise, Easter treats are more of the mini egg variety and marshmallow Peeps in comparison to chocolate eggs. Religious holidays aren't public holidays in the US so Good Friday and Easter Monday are same old working days. Last year Easter passed me by  - granted we can get our hands on cream eggs but they are smaller and, well I've now being craving hot cross buns for two years so something had to be done. And because I can't find them in stores it was time to get baking! 

To carry on the vintage recipe challenge I hunted and hunted in my vintage recipe books for something suitable, thing is there are so, so many variations on this recipe that it's hard to choose - even my mam was mailing me photocopies out of her vintage cookbooks and even a Mary Berry recipe. My choice was basically down to what I had in the cupboards and not having to go out of my way to buy anything special, my choice also took into consideration time - as with all yeast recipes it's all about the waiting - luckily this one is a "quick" recipe in comparison to many I found.

So this recipe comes from the 1949 New Recipes for Good Eating - a rather worn out and well used publication by Crisco and Procter and Gamble. The recipe for the icing comes from another booklet - a much older cookbook from 1917 and published by Fleischmann (a yeast brand) Excellent Recipes for Baking Raised Breads. Both cookbooks are far too damaged to sell, so I've rehomed them.

Hot Cross Buns - this recipe makes 18 to 20, 2½" buns and takes about 4 hours.

● 1 cake yeast (which is 2 ¼ tsps of dry yeast)
● 1/3 cup of white sugar
● 2/3 cup of warm milk
● 3½ cups of sifted flour
● ½ of melted butter (the recipe calls for Crisco but that's just lard)
● 3 eggs
● ¾ teaspoon of salt
● 1 teaspoon of cinnamon 
● 2/3 cup of raisins

In a bowl dissolve the yeast and sugar with the warm milk. Add one cup of the flour and beat until smooth. Then add in the butter, eggs, the remaining flour, salt and cinnamon. When mixed, stir in the raisins. Leave in a warm place for up to two hours - you could leave it for just an hour, but the longer the better. With all breads I make I always place over the bowl a tea towel which I dampened with warm water draped over the bowl for added heat for the yeast to get moving.

Once your mixture has risen to about double it's size, punch down (literally punch the mixture) and roll out onto a floured surface, you want to roll it down so it's around an inch in thickness, then cut until your bun shape.

Place on a prepared lined tin around 2" apart and again leave them for around an hour and a half until they double in size. Once they have risen, snip a small cross in the top and place into a preheated oven at 350F for 15 to 20 minutes. Out of the oven you're ready to add the frosting which can be added when they are still warm.

Plain Frosting

● 1 cup of powdered sugar
●  2 tablespoons of milk or water
● ¼ teaspoon of vanilla 

To keep up with tradition the frosting is normally added in a cross design.

It was certainly worth having a bake of these hot cross buns and they satisfied my cravings for Easter sugar. These buns have a bit more of a cinnamon pastry flavor (obviously due to the amount of cinnamon inside), they are great to be eaten alone or with butter and or jam if you're feeling the need for a treat and I'm more then a bit proud that they actually turned out pretty well. As for Easter itself we popped to a couple of estate sales, had a meal at our favourite seafood restaurant for our date night and curled up on the sofa reading what will sadly be the last book Ash by James Herbert who sadly passed the other week - his books got me reading horror.

What are your favorite treats for Easter? Have you ever tried to bake hot cross buns?


  1. I'm not particularly a hot cross bun fan, but these look absolutely delicious! I'll have to give them a try tomorrow, who cares if it's past Easter now?

  2. For the past couple of years our Easter has involved some form of Chinese food. This year my father and I went to a buffet with my sister and her boy. I ate too many shrimp dumplings and made myself ill.

    Might have to try that recipe (sans raisins). Also adding "James Herbert - [David Ash 01] - Haunted" to my reading list. X3

    1. I'm not sure if a hot cross bun without raisins would work cuz that's what they are kinda all about! As someone else has said it would be like having a chicken burger without the chicken.

  3. Oh my word they look delicious! Definitely need to get my hands on some hot cross buns asap now!!do you not get proper Easter eggs in the US then? I so thought you guys would do them bigger and better than the uk versions haha :) xx

  4. Ooh let me know how Ash is - I just bought it at the weekend!