It just wasn’t Easter weekend until the old house was filled with the rich aroma of Mother’s home-baked Hot Cross Buns! It was a long-standing tradition at our home on the Third Line of Bathurst, although legends say that these mouth-watering buns were made long before any of us were around.
It was way back, in the twelfth century, that an Anglican monk at St. Albans Abbey, first made these buns, marked each with a cross, and distributed them to the poor on Good Friday.
Hot Cross Buns were an Easter tradition at the Stafford house, along with a juicy baked ham, creamy scalloped potatoes, and of course, velvety chocolate Easter eggs.
Stafford House, Third Line of Bathurst, Lanark County -1975
Mother, a keen competitor in the local fairs for many decades, was eventually asked to become a Judge, and her prize-winning baking was a daily treat at our house.
Audry (Rutherford) Stafford, at the old house, on the Third Line, in 1964
Mother’s Farmhouse Hot Cross Buns
1 c milk
2 1/2 tsp sugar
2 pkt yeast
2 tsp salt
2 eggs (beaten)
3/4 c cold water
7-7 1/2 c flour
1/4 c shortening
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c warm water
1/2 tsp allspice
1 c raisins
(1 c chopped peel and 1 c currants if desired)
Mix as for yeast dough, but mix spices with the flour
Stir in the raisins (currants, and peel)
Knead 5 minutes
Let rise until doubled
Divide dough into pieces about 1 1/2″ diameter shape, and place 1 1/2″ apart on a greased baking sheet
Let rise to double
Bake at 350 F
After 15 minutes, remove from the oven and brush with glaze (2 Tbsp water and 2 Tbsp sugar)
Return to oven and finish baking. Brush again with the glaze, and cool
When cool, make a cross on each bun with white icing
Serve with softened creamery butter, or homemade preserves if desired.
Be prepared for the sweet scents of cinnamon and fresh baked bread to fill your home, bringing memories of Easters past, and maybe beginning a new tradition in your family!
Wishing you a very Happy Easter, from our house, to yours!
For more of Mother’s Farmhouse recipes:
Over ninety of Audry’s prize-winning recipes – “Recipes and Recollections: Treats and Tales from our Mother’s Kitchen”, ISBN 978-0-9877026-09