How To Share The Story Of Easter Through A Hot Cross Bun.

Updated: Apr 2


Join us at 1pm on Good Friday, April 2 for our live, online Hot Cross Bun Master Class. $10 per person/family. This event is free for TFA members. All proceeds go towards helping us R&D exciting new recipes that help you share the Gospel with a friend through our unique dishes.
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One-a-penny, two-a-penny, Hot Cross Buns…

On Good Friday all around the world, people love celebrating Easter by enjoying Hot Cross Buns. These delicious fruit-filled buns have had a long historical connection to Easter and to English culture.

Originating in 12th century England, it is believed that a monk was the first to make the sweet bun. He marked it with a cross as a way to celebrate Easter while feeding the poor.

Hot cross buns have inspired a variety of myths and legends over the years. For example, one legend states that if you place a bun in the rafters of your kitchen on Good Friday, the pastry will never go stale and would ensure that your bread will always rise. Some even believed that the buns in the rafters had healing properties and so they ground them up to use as medicine.

In 1592, Queen Elizabeth the first decreed that Hot Cross Buns could only be eaten on Good Friday, Christmas, or at funerals. These special buns were far too sacred to be consumed on any other day. Many people then began secretly baking the pastries in their own kitchens. If they were caught, they had to give their illegal buns to the poor.

Sharing Hot Cross Buns has long been a symbol of friendship. Those who share a hot cross bun on Good Friday are supposed to enjoy a strong friendship bond for the next year. A line from an old Irish rhyme says: “Half for you and half for me, between us two, good luck shall be.”

Hot Cross Buns are popular at Easter because they capture the essence of the Easter story through both the symbolism of the cross and within the flavors of the bun. The cross on the top of the bun represents the cross of Jesus. For Christians, the cross has always been a symbol of hope: the hope of light overcoming darkness, of Jesus being victorious over sickness and death, and of good triumphing over evil. The fruit embedded in the buns represents the body of Christ in the tomb. The cinnamon and nutmeg represent the spices used to anoint Jesus’ body as it was wrapped in burial cloths. Finally, the risen yeast dough symbolizes Jesus rising from the grave and defeating death once and for all.

The Easter story is a story of hope. The resurrection of Jesus is God’s promise for all of creation that He will indeed “make all things new”- Revelation 21:5.

In this time of considerable uncertainty, we could all use a little hope and a reminder that God is still making all things new. So we share these buns as a reminder that no matter how dark the world may become, Jesus offers us all new life through a relationship with Him.


A simple Easter Outreach:


  1. Make a double batch of our Ultimate Hot Cross Buns from our recipe found below.

  2. Copy, paste, print and insert the note below into an Easter card. The note shares the story of Easter through the symbolism of Hot Cross Buns.

  3. Write a personal note on the card and wrap it up with your Hot Cross Buns and deliver them to a friend or neighbour.

  4. Video call, FB message or WhatsApp your friend. Wish them a happy Easter and ask if there is anything you can do or pray for.

Easter card insert text:


We hope you enjoy these Hot Cross Buns. Originating in 12 century England, tradition says that those who share a hot cross bun on Good Friday are destined to enjoy a strong friendship all year. A line from an old Irish rhyme says: “Half for you and half for me, between us two, good luck shall be.”

Hot Cross Buns are also popular at Easter because they capture the essence of the Easter story through the symbolism of the cross and the flavours of the bun. The cross on the top of the bun represents the cross of Jesus. For Christians the cross has always been a symbol of hope: the hope of light overcoming darkness, of Jesus being victorious over sickness and death and of good triumphing over evil. The fruit embedded in the buns represent the body of Christ in the tomb. The cinnamon and nutmeg represent the spices used to anoint Jesus’ body as it was wrapped in burial cloths. Finally, the risen yeast dough symbolizes Jesus rising from the grave and defeating death once and for all.


The Easter story is a story of hope. The resurrection of Jesus is God’s promise for all of creation that He will indeed “make all things new”- Revelation 21:5.





He is Risen!


Easy and Delicious Hot Cross Buns Recipe


Earl Grey tea and mandarin orange with lemon zest and dark chocolate brings these traditional hot cross buns to the next level.


Prep time 30 min. Rest time: 2 hours. Bake time 20 min. Total time 3 hours.


Equipment:


2 Mixing bowls

2 small pots

Measuring cups

Measuring spoons

Micro plane or citrus zester

A parchment lined sheet pan or rectangular cake pan.

towel or plastic wrap

Stand Mixer or Bread Machine (Optional)

Chef Knife

Cooling rack

Zip Lock Bag

Whisk

A Stand Mixer with a dough hook, or a bread machine is great if you have one. But it’s also easy to kneed by hand.

Earl Grey & Mandarin Orange Hot Cross Buns


Bun Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt

  • 4 1/2 cups (539g) All-Purpose Flour

  • 1/3 cup (57g) red wine or apple juice or spiced rum

  • 1/4 cup (57 g) Dried Cranberries - chopped

  • 1/4 cup (57g) Dried Apricots - chopped

  • 1/2 cup (78g) raisins

  • 1 1/4cup (283g) milk

  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice - (Mandarin Orange if possible)

  • 1/4 cup (53g) Brown sugar, packed

  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk (save the white for the topping)

  • 6 tablespoons (85g) butter, at room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast (2.5)

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated is best)

  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves or allspice

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground star anise

  • 1 pinch of powdered ginger

  • 2 teaspoons of stem ginger (optional but recommended)

  • 2 Earl Grey or Lady Grey Tea bags

  • Zest of one mandarine (or navel) orange

  • Zest of one Lemon

  • 3 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract

  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate.

Egg Wash:

  • Reserved Egg white and 1 Table spoon of milk.


Apricot Glaze:

  • 1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup Apricot Jam

  • 1 teaspoon of water

Cross ingredients:


There are many ways to make a cross. The easiest is to make a paste out of flour and water and pipe it on your buns before baking. However I prefer a adding a spiced sweet cross after baking . I have included both options.You could also use tempered chocolate!


Flour Paste Cross

  • 1/2 cup white flour

  • 5 table spoons of water


Spiced Sweet Cross

  • 1 cup icing sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

  • Pinch of ground clove

  • 5 teaspoons of Mandarin orange juice or water


12 steps to delicious hot cross buns.

Step 1.


  • Make a Milk & flour paste. This simple Japanese technique is called the Tangzhong method and will give you a higher rise and a fluffier bun. Begin by measuring out the flour and milk. Take 3 tablespoons of the measured flour and 1/2 cup of the measured milk; put them in a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it thickens and forms a thick slurry; this will take about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer the cooked mixture to a bowl, let it cool to lukewarm, then combine it with the remaining flour, milk, and other dough ingredients when you mix everything together.


Step 2.

  • Brew the Tea. In a small pot, add the milk the two earl grey teabags, 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1 table spoon of vanilla into a small pot on med low heat and bring to a simmer. Once it simmers, remove from heat and let it cool to 110F or 43C. ( Just warm, a little over room temperature if you don’t have a thermometer)


Step 3.

  • Mix in Yeast. Confirm the temperature of the tea is 110 F with an instant read thermometer. Whisk in 2 teaspoons of instant yeast. Set aside. It should start foaming showing the yeast is active within a few minutes. Let this activate as long as possible at room temperature as you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Step 4.

  • Lightly grease a 10" square pan or 9" x 13" pan.

  • Zest the Orange and Lemon.

  • Juice the zested orange.

  • Measure out your dry ingredients.

Step 5.


  • Poach the raisins. Pour 1/3 cup of your chosen poaching liquid such as red wine, apple juice or rum into a small pot. Add your raisins and a dash of cinnamon, cloves, star anise, powdered ginger and one table spoon of sugar. Let simmer on the stove on low for about five - six minutes or until the raisins are fully hydrated and your poaching liquid is reduced to a syrup. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl too cool.


Step 6.


  • Make the dough. Whisk the flour, salt and spices. Mix in the room temp eggs and the egg yolk from the separated egg. Then add the activated milk and yeast mixture. Add the butter. Hold off on adding the fruit for the time being. Knead the mixture, by hand for about 10 minutes. You could also use an electric mixer or bread machine, until the dough is soft and elastic. If the dough is sticky, greasing the bottom of the bowl or your hands will make it easier. Once the dough is smooth and elastic. kneed in the fruit, zest and any liquid not absorbed.


  • Oil a mixing bowl and place the dough and cover it with some plastic wrap or a damp cloth so it can rise for about an hour, covered in a warm place. Room Temperature is fine. But if it’s a cool day, put it in your oven if it has a proofing option. It should become puffy, though it may not double in size.


Step 7.


  • Punch down and roll the proofed dough into a 2 1/2 “ log. Using a Chef knife or bench scrapper, divide the dough into billiard ball-sized pieces, about 3 3/4 ounces each. This should make 12 to 14 buns. Put a little oil on your hands and some flour on your counter or cutting board to round them into balls. Arrange them in the prepared pan for bunched buns or if you want round buns place on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.


Step 8.


  • Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for 1 hour, or until they've puffed up and are touching one another. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

  • Whisk together the reserved egg white and milk, and brush it over the buns.

  • Mix together 2 - 3 tablespoons cup of orange juice and 1/2 cup of flour to make a paste. Add paste to a small zip lock bag. Cut the tip off the bag and pipe a cross over each bun.


Step 9.


  • Bake the buns for 20 - 25 minutes, until they're golden brown. (Check at 20 min) Remove from the oven and glaze with the orange and apricot glaze. Glaze recipe is below.

Step 10.


  • While the buns are baking, warm a 1/3 cup of apricot jam, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 2 Teaspoons of orange juice on the stove or for 30 seconds in the microwave.

Step 11.

  • Using a Pastry brush, glaze the warm buns with the warmed Apricot jam.

Step 12:


Flour Paste Cross

  • Mix the flour and water making a paste. Add the paste to a piping or ziplock bag and pipe it over you buns just before baking.

Sweet Orange Cross

  • Mix the icing sugar, spices and orange juice together. Pipe it on the buns after they have been baked and cooled.

Chocolate Cross

  • Gently melt 3/4 cup of chopped white or dark chocolate in the microwave. To temper chocolate in the microwave simply put it in a microwave safe bowl and microwave it on high for 30 seconds at a time stiring between each time. It should be fully melted in about 90 sec total. Transfer it to a piping bag with a small straight tip or zip lock bag. Cut a small corner off the zip lock bag and pipe the melted chocolate as a cross over each bun that has already been baked and cooled. Transfer them to a rack to cool. Enjoy these yummy buns toasted with butter and jam and a cup of earl grey tea.

Happy Easter! He is Risen!






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