The traditional New Zealand hot cross bun was brought here by our ancestors when they came out from England
and to this day we make a recognisably English hot cross bun. The ancestry of the hotcross bun is fascinating as according to the 8th century scholar The venerable Bede
it can be traced back to the spring festival of the pre-christian goddess Ēostre from who's name the word Easter is derived. Originally the buns are said to have had crossed rams horns and together with eggs and hares represented the rebirth of life in Spring. When the festival was merged with the Christian Paschal festivity the rams horns became a cross.
The modern hot cross bun consists of a sweet yeast bread flavoured with spices and currants or sultanas, peel or other dried or candied fruit, chopped small can be added and mixed into the flour and sugar. Unlike the Christmas cake which was designed to keep until mid-winter, the hotcross bun represents the fast and hectic days of spring and should always be eaten fresh.
There are legends and old traditions that a hot cross bun that's made on Good Friday will keep without spoiling for the following year. Please don't try this at home though, it's a yeast dough, it won't keep.
Auckland based gourmet baker, Tessa Clement of Sweet Expectations
has kindly given us this gourmet hot cross bun recipe