Like many holidays, Easter is associated with several traditions. When it comes to food and treats, enjoying hot cross buns is most common. Hot cross buns are considered a must-have for Easter and in Trinidad the tradition is taken very seriously.
Traditionally eaten on Good Friday hot cross buns have a long history that goes back hundreds of years. Lightly sweetened and filled with all sorts of dried fruits and fragrant spices, the tops of the buns are scored to resemble crosses. Some bakers drizzle the buns with a simple icing of powdered sugar and milk to form the crosses while others make the crosses from a flour paste that’s baked into the bread.
As history goes, the marked buns were considered blessed. Some thought that sharing a bun with someone brought each person good luck for the next year. Others simply said scoring it helped the bread stay fresh longer.
Rita Henry was part of the long lines at Linda’s Bakery Excellent Mall Frederick Street, Port of Spain branch. Her mission was to get two dozen buns in time for Good Friday and have enough left over for Easter Sunday. Henry said celebrating Easter wouldn’t be complete without her buns. “My family large so I have to get about two dozen — some for Good Friday and some must be left over for Easter Sunday. I used to bake my buns because I prefer them fresh and hot out the oven but I don’t have time these days so I have to order them from the bakery. These bakery buns can’t compare with my buns but they will do because I really don’t have a choice these days. I can’t be on my feet too long so I have to buy them.
“I always say I have to start back making my buns. I make my buns with plenty raisins and cherries. And my buns don’t have these icing crosses like the bakery buns nowadays; I make paw paw jelly to make the cross on my buns. My cross is rich with bright red jelly. These bakeries using icing but I have to be contended with that,” Henry said.
In some establishments the price for buns is $25 dollars for six buns while others go $20 for eight. Others prices are as low as $2 and $1.50 for a bun. Henry said buns nowadays are too expensive.
Lisa Persad said she grew up having hot cross buns during Easter. She said she was picking up a few for her children. “I like the buns and my children like everything sweet, I remember having them every year growing up during Easter; it is not anything religious or anything for me, it’s just tradition,” Persad said.
Jenna Thomas who runs a small business and whose order was for four dozen buns said her large order was to distribute among her staff. At Linda’s Bakery the Manager said the lines were long from as early as 7 a.m. She said the rush was expected and the bakery had catered for the expected high demand for the buns.
There was also a long line of customers placing orders for their hot cross buns at Lucky Bakery on Independence Square in Port of Spain. The customer service representative there assured customers that they won’t run out.
“Look at this line. This place will be crowded all day. We will also be opened until noon on Good Friday. But we can’t sell out at all. You see this line?”
When the Express spoke to various customers at that about the importance of getting their sweet treats many of them shared the same sentiments — it was part of their Easter tradition.
Here are some pastry recipes to tide you over this weekend:
Hot Cross Buns
Water 8 oz
Yeast 1.5 oz
Butter 4 oz
Margarine, or shortening
Sugar 4 oz
Salt 0.25 oz
Nonfat milk 1 oz
Eggs 3 oz 0
Bread flour 1lb
Cake flour 4 oz
Dried currants 4 oz
Golden raisins 2 oz
Ground allspice (1 tsp)
Icing sugar ¼ cup
Water 3 to 4 tsp(make a thick paste)
Mixing, modified straight dough:
1. Mix together the fat, (butter) milk, salt and sugar.
2. Cream till it is well combined and starts to get lighter in shade.
3. Add the eggs a little at a time, then the water and yeast, mix.
4. Add the flour spice andn begin to develop the dough.
5. Develop for three minutes then add the dried fruits and mix for an additional minute. Develop the dough 4 minutes at second speed. Fermentation
11⁄2 hours at 80°F (27°C)
6. Cut the dogh in 2 oz portions and roll out into smooth balls.
7. Place on a lined tray , and allow to proof until double in size.
8. Bake at 375 F until golden brown.
9. Remove and glaze immediately with a sugar syrup and pipe the cross on the buns with the icing paste.
Danish Pastry Dough
Milk 7 oz
Yeast 1.33 oz
Bread flour 1lb 10 oz
Eggs 3.25 oz
Butter, melted 1.5 oz 00
Salt 2 tsp
Sugar 1.5 oz
Milk 2.5 oz
Butter, softened 1lb 500
Mixing and fermentation
1. In a bowl, mix the first quantity of milk with the yeast (a).
2. Sift the flour on top of the yeast mixture. Add the eggs and melted butter (b).
3. Dissolve the salt and sugar in the second quantity of milk (c). Add to the
4. Mix for 11⁄2 minutes with the dough hook to form a dough (d).
5. Place the dough in a mixing bowl, cover, and let ferment 30 minutes at room
temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
6. Punch down the dough and rest in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
Incorporate the last quantity of butter and give 3-three-folds
1. Roll out the dough into a rectangle and paste half with the cinnamon smear, fold and cut into one inch strips.
2. Twist the strips and spiral like a snail and place onto a lined tray.
3. Allow to proof until double in size or spongy.
4. Bake at 375 f until golden brown.
5. Remove from oven and glaze immediately with a sugar syrup.
6. Decorate with icing paste if desired.
8 oz brown sugar
8 oz butter
2 tbsp cinnamon
4 tbsp honey
Mix together until fluffy
Recipes courtesy Selwyn Wickham,
Central School of Culinary Arts,
#4 Market Street, Chaguanas,