Hot cross buns for a happy Easter

This blog is proving to be quite a confessional forum for me. I’ve shared that I’ve never made pancakes before, that I’m not a pub fan and now, I have yet another revelation: I’ve never eaten hot cross buns. In England hot cross buns are very common, emerging en masse on the supermarket shelves around January, indicating that Easter is “around the corner”.

To celebrate Easter properly (in Anglophile style), I therefore joined Virtuous Bread’s hot cross bun and celebration bread class, and baked to my heart’s content yesterday. It’s so easy when you have someone standing next to you telling you exactly how the dough is suppose to look like, and what to add when. I got a good understanding how yeast is interacting with other ingredients, and how enriched bread differs from a traditional loaf.

I never realised that hot cross buns are seasoned with cloves, cinnamon and other ground spices and so to me it was like being transported back  to December. I associate these “mulled wine” spices with Christmas, as in Sweden we use it for glögg and gingerbread snaps.

In Sweden, we also don’t bake specific Easter bread (and we certainly don’t put crosses on them), this holiday is more about marzipan eggs, feathers and pick n’ mix candy which you fill to the brim in your Easter egg. Seeing as we’re quite a pagan bunch, we mix Jesus with the occult, and children dress up as witches and walk around handing out Easter letters, with drawings of chickens, bunnies and witches. In return for a letter, you have to feed already psyched-up kids with sugarific candy. The joy to get those kids to sleep at night…

In our hot cross buns we used 1/3 of whole wheat, which made them fuller in flavour and also a lot healthier. I know it’s probably a blasphemy saying this, but I could easily have put a slice of cheese on my bun. It was almost like a breakfast roll, only with lovely scented spices.

With a cup of tea and a hot cross bun in hand I finished the class, feeling much more like a true Brit. Tomorrow I’m off to Sweden, which means that my second nationality will wear off in a jiffy.


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