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Amazing Hot Cross Buns Facts You Probably Don’t Know!

Hot cross buns are an Easter tradition you find in many countries. Although many of us enjoy eating them, only some of us know the history of Hot Cross Buns.

Let’s find out why Hot Cross Buns are associated with Easter and why they are only eaten at this time of the year.

The Greeks and Hot Cross Buns

The first time a bread or pastry similar to Hot Cross Buns is mentioned is in Ancient Greek literature. According to Greek tradition, the cross that marks the bun represents the moon. The buns were often distributed to the poor.

Egyptian Gnostic Christians would have you believe otherwise. They claim Gnostic monks were the first to bake the buns. Subsequently, the cross represents Mary Magdalene.

This tradition has been adopted by Spain and France where Magdalene cakes are served in honour of Mary Magdalene. The cakes may have a cross on them around Easter.

Mary Magdelene is said to have landed on Spanish or French chores after having fled the Holy Land following the death of Jesus. 

The First “Modern” Mention of Hot Cross Buns

The first mention of Hot Cross Buns in English comes from a 1733 Almanac printed in England.

According to English tradition, the buns were first baked by a resident monk at St. Alban’s Abbey in the 14th century. He distributed them on Good Friday to the poor. These buns were often called penny buns.

It makes you wonder where he got the idea from…

The Forbidden Buns

Queen Elizabeth I decided that penny buns or Hot Cross Buns should not be eaten every day of the year.

People who disobeyed this law could be punished and sent to prison. At the time, it is believed Hot Cross Buns were given as alms by the church to help the poor.  But, Queen Elizabeth I decided they could only be eaten on Good Friday and perhaps at Christmas and burials.

During this period, Hot Cross Buns were considered sacred.

Superstitions Linked to Hot Cross Buns

Today, many superstitions are still linked to Hot Cross Buns. Burning a Hot Cross Bun in the kitchen protects the home from evil spirits and fires.

If you can, keep your Hot Cross Bun for a year. Doing so brings wealth and good luck. If you are planning on going on a cruise, don’t forget to bring a Hot Cross Bun. A bun protects you during your sea voyage and stops your ship from sinking. 

Italian Hot Cross Buns

Chocolate is sometimes added to Hot Cross Buns in Italy. Of course, when the first Hot Cross Bun was baked in Italy, chocolate was not available.

Instead, orange peel, raisins and cinnamon were used. These are still the traditional ingredients of a Hot Cross Bun.

Occasionally at Easter, you find Hot Cross Buns served with pork dishes in Italy.

What are Hot Cross Buns called in Italy? They are often called Pan Gocciolo. This is perhaps the traditional name. A more popular name is perhaps Bunettone.

As they contain yeast, there is no reason why you can’t make larger buns – similar to Panettone. Larger versions of the traditional Hot Cross Bun are often baked and sold in Italy.

The Last Crumb

If you are too busy to bake your own Hot Cross Buns, simply order from Brunetti Oro.

We are passionate about all things food and patisserie and our Hot Cross Buns are a testament to our commitment. Choose from Traditional or Nutella and enjoy the most delicious buns in Melbourne.

All you have to do is order from our website or pop into your nearest Brunetti Oro store.

Many traditional Easter delights are waiting for you at Brunetti Oro including Colomba cakes and the best Easter eggs.

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