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Apr 2, 2015

The Art of the Hot Cross Bun, a Perennial Easter Treat

You know it’s not Easter in Belize until you’ve had a hot cross bun. The tradition of making cross buns and enjoying them around this time of the year is a part of many households; so much so, that growing up as kids, we would sing the “one a penny, two a penny hot cross bun” jingle. But perhaps what is even more enjoyable than singing the rhyme is eating the bun. Bakeries, snack shops and even homes have been busy making the buns with their signature cross. If you haven’t bought yours as yet, you can make them right at home over the Easter holiday. News Five stopped in at a local take out to learn that making cross buns is easy as one, two, three.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Whether you like to eat home-made cross buns plain or with cheese- one thing is for sure, it is part of the Belizean Easter tradition and something that Belizeans look forward to every year. We stopped in at Carmen’s Takeout where hot cross buns were making. The recipe is easy to follow and only needs a couple ingredients.

 

Cruzita Leslie

Cruzita Leslie, Owner, Carmen’s Take Out

“To start with, I put in flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nut meg, and shortening; stick butter and carnation milk, vanilla and a little lemon essence and then I am ready to knead it with warm water. And this dah the kneading part; the mix up part.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, how long you knead it for?”

 

Cruzita Leslie

“You knead it until you mix up all the flour. You put together all the flour and ingredients. Mix all the ingredients until you make a dough. You knead it good.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Sometimes the buns are a little soft and sometimes a little harder?”

 

Cruzita Leslie

“I make it a little harder because you know, cross buns nuh fuh be too spongy, so I make it kinda heavy. And with the brown sugar, it get kinda heavy. Heavier than the regular buns.”

 

Many Belizeans grew up with the tradition of making or eating cross buns for the Easter, but that wasn’t the reality for Cruzita Leslie. It has only been a few years since she started making the buns, but she has perfected the buns from the recipe she uses.

 

Cruzita Leslie

“About three years now. I just started it about three years.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Is it a tradition that you grew up with in your home?”

 

Cruzita Leslie

“No, no. Not a tradition. Until I came to live here at Belize then I found out about this tradition. So, some people are ordering buns and they also want some fry fish along with it. So it’s nearly ready.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“As someone who makes cross buns, what’s the best way to eat them you’d say?”

 

Cruzita Leslie

“I say with butter and cheese or with your fry fish; tomorrow if you want you can eat it with your fry fish.

 

Andrea Polanco

“This recipe that you use, is it something that you came up with or was it passed down to by someone?”

 

Cruzita Leslie

“Yeah. It was a recipe that was passed down to me by one of my friends.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So it is fairly easy to make at home?”

 

Cruzita Leslie

“Yeah. It is very easy you only need to know the ingredients and it’s an easy way to make buns.”

 

It’s so easy that you can make a batch right at home. Once the ingredients are properly mixed, the dough reaches a consistency. It is then separated into balls and pressed into shape, and then the symbolic cross is placed on top.

 

Cruzita Leslie

“Then we make the buns.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“How many buns you planning to make this year?”

 

Cruzita Leslie

“Well, I have quite ah lotta orders. Mostly it will be walk-ins. My customers who come and by food they usually will pick up deh buns too. The kneading part is over and then you make the size of your buns. The size you want them and you flatten them a little and you put yuh cross.  You need to leave them to raise for about half an hour when they raise and then you put them in the oven and bake them for about forty minutes and they will be ready.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“How do you know they are ready; just the time or will they get golden color?”

 

Cruzita Leslie

“Yes, when they get brown and you feel them that they are not soft anymore then they are ready to come out.”

 

And after they are taken out of the oven, the cross buns are pretty much ready to eat—after they’ve cooled off, of course.

 

Cruzita Leslie

“So, this is the end product.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So do you put like a little sugar on top…?”

 

Cruzita Leslie, Owner, Carmen’s Take Out

“A little glaze, yes. You can use sugar- you melt the sugar, add butter and you can baste the top so that they look shiny and then you have your nice hot cross buns for your Easter.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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