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The intriguing origins of hot buns and how to prepare them




Of the many traditions associated with Easter in Ireland, the baking (or eating) of hot buns has to be the most intriguing. While we have forgotten most of the intricate symbols that come with them, that doesn’t stop us from appreciating them.

The warm cross buns contain spices and dried fruits from far away Ireland. But we forget how the spice trade has impacted our food history. While these ingredients would once have meant wealth and prestige, they now remind us of how open our country has been to international food trends through the centuries.

How to make hot buns

Place 300 ml of milk with a tablespoon of oil, 50 g of butter, the zest of an orange and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a saucepan and heat to melt the butter. Cool the mixture to manual temperature and crumble in 5g of fresh yeast or 10g of dried yeast. Whisk an egg and let stand.

In a bowl, put 500g of flour with 100g of raisins, 75g of brown sugar and a teaspoon of salt. Gradually pour in the milk mixture to form a paste. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Return to bowl and cover and let rise for an hour or until doubled in size. Shape the dough into 12 balls. Cover and prove again until it doubles in volume.

Mix some flour with water to make a paste. Place in a pastry bag and glue a cross on each bun. Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes until golden brown. Gently heat 50 ml of golden syrup and brush the hot rolls to glaze them.

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