Thursday, April 1, 2010

Holy Friday hot cross bun tradition and vintage recipe

Vintage Recipe Thursday is meant to preserve your own original vintage family recipes, or out-of-print, copyright-free recipes from old cookbooks, magazines, newspapers, and postcards. You're invited! Get the details by clicking to the Vintage Recipe Thursday Homepage. I post recipes from the Household Searchlight Recipe Book, first published in 1931. My 16th printing is from 1943. What will you post?

It's April Fool's Day, but as it is also Holy Thursday for those of us who are Christian, I will refrain from having fun and playing any practical jokes on you.  Instead, I am sharing just a bit of religious tradition about Hot Cross Buns and the vintage recipe from my old cookbook.

Hot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten for breakfast on Holy Friday (the day Christ died on the cross, and the Friday before the glorious Easter season begins on Sunday), and for some are about the only luxury during this time of fasting and mourning. Many people eat them all through Lent as well.

According to tradition, the monks at St. Alban's Abbey in Hertfordshire began giving hot cross buns to the poor on Good Friday in 1361.

Because of the religious significance of the cross, it is customary to kiss the buns before eating them.  Some people also have the tradition to share a Hot Cross Bun with someone, reciting these words:

    Half for you and half for me,
    Between us two shall goodwill be.

Wishing all of you a Holy Tridium and a most Happy Easter!
(and I hope our Jewish friends had a great Passover, too!)

Below are the typical ingredients for Hot Cross Buns, and further down is the vintage recipe in my Household Searchlight Recipe Book:

Hot Cross Buns Ingredients

1 cup milk
2 tbsp. yeast
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter, melted, cooled
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
4 eggs
5 cups flour
1 1/3 cups currants or raisins
1 egg white

1 1/3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1- 2 tbsp. milk

Hot Cross Buns Vintage Recipe

Prepare a dough from any roll recipes.  When ready to be formed into rolls turn onto lightly floured board and roll in sheet 1 inch thick.  Cut into rounds with a floured cutter.  Place on well-oiled pan.  Cover and let rise until treble in bulk.  Cut a cross on the top of each bun with a sharp knife.  Bake in hot oven (450 F.) 12-15 minutes.  Brush the surface of the freshly baked buns with sugar and water.  Fill the cross with a plain frosting.

More Vintage Recipes from Participants:
A Lovely Easter Brunch


  1. A lovely recipe, Joy.
    My daughter and I used to make these for every Easter when she was small.

    Happy Easter to you and yours!

  2. I am an Asian and my bf is a Christian. I am really grateful you shared the stories and the recipe with us together.
    Thank you


Let's build a friendly community. Thank you for leaving a comment. :-)