POSTED: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 4:00pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 4:14pm
CNN — "Hot Cross Buns! Hot Cross Buns!
One a penny, two a penny, Hot Cross Buns!
If you have no daughters, give them to your sons.
One a penny, two a penny Hot Cross Buns."
This is the song most children of British and Commonwealth countries sing around Easter time. Legend has it, the song was sung by vendors to attract buyers. Beyond that, the meaning of the lyrics is unclear.
But, back to the buns: They're small and toasted brown, typically with a white cross over them in icing or white dough. Hot cross buns are typically served on Good Friday, with the cross representing the crucifixion. They're associated with the Church of England but both the Saxons and the Greeks have laid claim to them. The Saxons ate them to honor the god Eostre, which is probably where the word Easter is derived from.
The dough is made from yeast, flour, eggs and oil, and is spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. Traditional recipes also call for currants. Most buns are served cut in half and toasted like a bagel, and smeared with butter or honey.
Another interesting tidbit about hot cross buns is that they're mired in superstitions. Here are a few:
- If you share a hot cross bun with someone else, you're supposedly going to be friends for the year, especially if you say "Half for you and half for me. Between us two shall goodwill be" at the time.
- Some people believe in kissing the bun before eating it because it's got a cross on it.
- They apparently protect against shipwrecks while at sea.
- And, if you hang one in your kitchen, they'll protect against fire and make all your breads rise perfectly - so long as each year your replace the bun.
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