Easter’s almost upon us and it’s the time of year when we all love to indulge in a hot cross bun. This spicy yet sweet treat is something is hugely popular at this time of year, but how much do we actually know about the humble hot cross bun?
Hot cross buns have quite a history, with one theory that they were introduced in the 14th century by a monk in St Albans. The monk marked the bun with a cross in honour of Good Friday, representing the crucifixion of Jesus.
However, some think the hot cross bun goes back even further to pagan Europe, when spiced buns were made with crosses to celebrate the goddess Eostre – and that’s where Easter gets its name! Either way, after their introduction, hot cross buns slowly gained popularity and became associated with the Easter period.
Their popularity grew further in Elizabethan England, when hot cross buns were believed to have medicinal powers. This superstition led to Queen Elizabeth passing a law in 1592 which allowed people only to enjoy hot cross buns on Good Friday, Christmas and at funeral - but the law was impossible to uphold – people loved them too much! People began making their own hot cross buns.
Making them specifically on Good Friday meant they wouldn’t go stale or grow mould for an entire year. At the time, it was extremely common for people to hang them in their houses to banish negative and evil spirits.
Today, hot cross buns can be eaten in many ways, but as we know most people have them toasted with a knob of butter on the top. But with their versatility, there’s plenty of new and inventive ways to eat hot cross buns!
Why not experiment and have a stab at making a hot cross bun treacle tart or even spiced hot cross bun French toast? Alternatively, why not use up your hot cross buns to make a bread and butter pudding? Or if you’re really feeling adventurous, try a hot cross buns frozen cheesecake.