By Kelly Youngblood
I’m not sure how I made it this far in life without knowing Hot Cross Buns were an Easter tradition. Ham, hash brown casserole, deviled eggs- yes, these are foods I am familiar with at Easter time. But Hot Cross Buns? I just thought that was a song I used to belt out on my recorder.
There’s actually some pretty interesting history and superstition behind these buns. In fact, they were considered pretty sacred and holy. People once believed (or maybe they still do) that making these buns would help you keep friendships and drive away evil spirits.
While I would like to drive away a few evil spirits, especially the ones that possess my cat and sometimes my children, I really just wanted to try this recipe out and maybe start a new Easter tradition.
But I was a little nervous to make them as they called for yeast. I have a fear of yeast- it’s right up there with my fear of heights, tornadoes, and terrorist hijackings. I’ve tried to make cinnamon rolls with yeast before and they didn’t turn out like the recipe promised. But I decided it was time to face my fear- me vs. yeast- and see which one of us would rise to the occasion. (In this case, I’m hoping both of us will.)
This recipe calls for dried currants. Recipes with ingredients I’ve never heard of before also scare me. But when I saw that some people substituted raisins for the currants, I figured I could give it a shot.
So following the easiest recipe I could find for Hot Cross Buns, I said a little prayer (after all, these buns are holy), donned my finest Easter apron, and got busy facing my fears.
And guess what? I successfully baked my very own Hot Cross Buns from scratch! They looked pretty darn close to the “professional” pictures I saw and the kids loved them, which kind of surprised me a bit.
They aren’t exactly sweet and mine had a very distinct citrus flavor to them as well. But they went over well and had them asking for seconds.
I did have my doubts throughout the process. “Does this yeast mix look foamy enough yet?” “What do they mean the dough should be shaggy?” These are questions I asked my mom as she helped me muddle my way through the process. And speaking of process- this was a long one.
After mixing the dough, it has to sit for 2 hours. Then you divide it up into mounds and let those sit for another 30 minutes. So these are definitely not “pop open a can, throw them in a pan and stick them in the oven kind of rolls.” But for one day a year, I can channel my inner-Amish and exert the time and effort these rolls require.
So even if you’re like me and a little afraid of yeast, start a new tradition and give this recipe a try. If I can do it, I know you can too. Happy Easter!