Catholic Recipe: Hot Cross Buns IV
It was a custom in medieval times, and still is in many places, to mark a new loaf of bread with the sign of the Cross before cutting it. On special occasions the cross was imprinted on the loaf itself, either by way of indentation or through a frosting of sugar.
In England, from the end of the fourteenth century, buns were baked with a cross on them. They are said to have originated at St. Alban's Abbey in 1361, where the monks distributed them to the poor on Good Friday in place of the ordinary buns. These "hot cross buns" became a famous Good Friday feature in England and Ireland, and later in the New World. They are now often served on other days of Lent as well. Made of spiced dough, round in shape, with a cross of sugar icing on the top, they are a familiar item of Lenten pastry.
These hot cross buns would be a great treat to serve on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, since the cross on the top of the bun reminds us of the feastday.
Dissolve yeast from hot roll mix in warm water in large bowl. Blend in egg. Add currants, citron, cinnamon, flour mixture; mix thoroughly. Let rise in warm place 30-45 minutes. Divide dough in 16 equal parts. Shape into balls. Place on greased baking sheet. Let rise again to almost double in size, 30-45 minutes. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown at 400°. Brush with soft butter. Cool. Make cross on top of each with mixture of 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar combined with 4 1/2 teaspoons milk.Recipe Source: Catholic Cookbook, The by William I. Kaufman, The Citadel Press, New York, 1965