Hot Cross Buns

    Hot cross buns, now eaten throughout the Easter season, were first baked in England to be served on Good Friday. These small, lightly sweet yeast buns contain raisins or currants and sometimes chopped candied fruit. Before baking, a cross is slashed in the top of the bun. After baking, a confectioners' sugar icing is used to fill the cross.
    An old rhyme was often sung by children awaiting their sugary treat:
    "Hot cross buns,
    hot cross buns,
    one a penny, two a penny,
    hot cross buns.
    If you do not like them,
    give them to your sons,
    one a penny, two a penny,
    hot cross buns."
    Simnel Cake

    A traditional way of breaking the Lenten fast is to eat some simnel cake. These are raised cakes, with a crust made of fine flour and water, coloured yellow with saffron, and filled with a very rich plum-cake, with plenty of candied lemon peel, and dried fruits.
    An old Shropshire tale has it that long ago there lived an honest old couple, Simon and Nelly, and it was their custom to gather their children around them at Easter. Nelly had some leftover unleavened dough from Lent, and Simon reminded her there was some plum pudding still left over from Christmas. They could make some treats for the visiting family.
    Nell put the leftovers together, and Sim insisted the cake should be boiled, while she was just as certain that it should be baked. They had a fight and came to blows, but compromised by doing both. They cooked the cake over a fire made from furniture broken in the scuffle, and some eggs, similarly broken, were used to baste it. The delicacy was named after this cantankerous couple. Or, so it is said.


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