150 g South African Fruit Cake Mix (a mixture of sultanas, raisins & mixed candied citrus peel)
500 g cake flour (if you wish you may use 1/2 bread to Cake flour)
7.5 ml salt
15 ml mixed spice
6 ml nutmeg
10 ml cinnamon
10 g yeast
75 g butter
75 g sugar
1 large egg, beaten
240 ml warm water (No hotter than body temperature – You don’t want to kill the yeast!)
maple or golden syrup (for glazing) or you may make up a sugar syrup water by dissolving sugar in a little water.
*When it comes to the crosses below, I always use milk which adds to the whitenes of paste*
For Icing Sugar Crosses:
5 ml water (plus more if the mixture is too thick)
30 ml icing sugar
Method: In a bowl, combine the water and icing sugar together to form a smooth paste. Pipe crosses on the buns. Serve hot or cold with butter.
For Flour Paste Crosses:
27.5 ml (55 g) Flour
61 ml (61 g) Water
Enough iced or chilled water to make up a flour paste of piping consistency *I always use milk, it adds to the whitenes of paste*
Method: Sift, mix all together & pipe crosses before baking.
30 ml White sugar
30 ml water
1. In a sieve, rinse the fruit cake mix. Dry well and set aside.
2. Into a bowl, sift the flour, salt mixed spice and cinnamon and add the dry yeast. Rub in the butter and add the sugar.
3. Make a well in the dry ingredients. Add the egg and warm water. Mix the liquid into the flour and then knead until it forms a dough. Add the fruit cake mix and form into a ball.
4. In a warmed, oiled glass bowl, leave the dough in a warm place, covered with a damp tea towel until it has doubled in size. Turn the dough out and knead well. Divide the dough into 15 pieces and shape into balls.
5. Place the balls onto a greased baking sheet. with the back of a knife make the cross indentations to them and pipe or with a syringe or pouring paste off a teaspoon (it must be thickish like a loose but thick paste) or drizzle the icing or flour paste into them to mark the crosses and leave for about 30 minutes until they have risen or doubled in size. Bake in a preheated oven, 240 degrees celsius, until well- browned about 10 minutes. Heat the syrup slightly and brush the buns while they are still hot. Serve & Enjoy!
Why we eat Hot Cross Buns at Easter
What are hot cross buns?
A traditional hot cross bun is a yeasted sweet bun that’s lightly spiced and studded with raisins, candied citrus peel & currants, then marked on top with a cross that’s either piped in icing or etched into the dough.
While hot cross buns are now sold and enjoyed throughout the year, they were once reserved for Good Friday alone.
There isn’t one clear explanation for why hot cross buns make their way to our table around Easter. Some theories rest in Christian symbolism, though there are several stories (and even some tall tales) about their origins. Some talk about hot cross buns (which may have at one time been called Good Friday buns) being baked and eaten solely on Good Friday, while others mentioned them being eaten throughout Lent.
Here are a few of the stories that are told about hot cross buns.
1. A 12th-century monk introduced the cross to the bun.
The origins of hot cross buns may go back as far as the 12th century. According to the story, an Anglican monk baked the buns and marked them with a cross in honor of Good Friday. Over time they gained popularity, and eventually became a symbol of Easter weekend.
2. Hot cross buns gained popularity in Elizabethan England.
Towards the end of the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I passed a law limiting the sale of sweet buns to funerals, Christmas, and the Friday before Easter. The English were deeply superstitious, believed the buns carried medicinal or magical properties, and were fearful of those powers being abused. Some even believed that buns baked on Good Friday would never go stale.
As a way to get around the law, more and more people began baking these sweet buns at home. Not only did they grow in popularity, but the law became too difficult to enforce and was eventually rescinded.
3. Superstitions about hot cross buns baked on Good Friday.
There are also more than a few stories that indicate hot cross buns were baked on Good Friday for superstitious reasons. One tale states that buns baked on this day and hung from the rafters of a home would ward off evil spirits in the coming year. Another talks of these buns protecting sailors from shipwreck, while off at sea. Yet another version mentions that sharing the bun with a loved one guarantees friendship in the coming year.