Toasted, buttered or enjoyed cold – no one can deny that hot cross buns are as popular and as tasty as ever. While there are many theories about their origin, the prevailing school of thought is that the modern version of the bun was first baked in the United Kingdom. One theory suggests that the hot cross buns originated in the 14th century in the city of St Albans in Hertfordshire. A monk from St Albans Abbey developed a recipe for Alban Buns which he distributed to the poor on Good Friday. However, the Oxford English Dictionary’s first reference to hot cross buns is from 1733. It’s in the form of the rhyme that some of us might know: “Good Friday comes this month, the old woman runs, with one or two a penny hot cross buns.”
Hot cross buns were often hung in kitchens or taken on sea voyages as lucky charms during this time, and legend has it, that if they’re baked on Good Friday, they’ll stay fresh for a whole year. This has however never been scientifically proven!
Fortunately, none of this matters today. The most important information about the hot cross bun is that it’s tasty either hot or cold, and now come in a variety of delicious flavours. Traditional is still a firm favourite, but now you can enjoy without fruit, chocolate, cranberries and extra spicy.
Look out for more tips, tricks and hot cross bun trivia every Friday, leading up to Good Friday. And don’t forget to grab yours hot out-of-the-oven from a Food Lover’s Market near you.