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Quality Baked Goods In the German Tradition Since 1930
4164 Barnett St., Mayfair, Philadelphia, PA 19135

Lenten Cross Buns

With Easter just over a week away, the Lenten season of Hot Cross Buns is nearing an end. How 40 days can pass so quickly, I’ll never know. The other day I was watching a special on the traditions of food and how much we celebrate holidays with our taste buds. I couldn't help but think of our Hot Cross Buns. The distinctive taste of the plain yeast-raised dough is nothing more than a filed memory for 320 some days out of the year and yet when the season arrives our minds and our “taste buds" recall with exceptional precision. For many, the taste is the whole story. But as I watched the show on food traditions it became clear that there was a blessing in the making of the food items and in the rituals passed down with the recipes. Our bakers can testify to this piece quite well. The richness and value of cross buns is found in the process of making them. They tell a story for the hands preparing them. Yeast (a biblical metaphor for sin) causes the body of the dough to rise. But before the dough can rise in proofing and in the oven, it is rolled and pierced with a tool made of many spikes. Currants, instead of raisins are used in the dough to add bitter-sweetness and once rested, hot cross buns come to life in the fire of the oven. Their story ends with a touch of true sweetness as a glazed cross gets put on top of each one. Though recipes for cross buns date back beyond the 12 century, it was in this era that an Anglican monk added the sign of the cross to honor Good-Friday, the recorded day of Jesus’ death. But, Cross buns don’t end their story on Friday.... remember they’re a risen dough and find completion on Easter Sunday with the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord. Lent is a time of preparing our hearts and minds for the celebration of Easter and I can’t help but think how blessed the hands are of those who have spent 40 days preparing an item so rich in symbolism and tradition. If you’ve never had a Hot-Cross Bun, there’s just about a week left to sink your teeth into one and taste their story.       A Lenten Tradition posted 4/12/19