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Apr 21, 2011

The art of making cross buns for Easter

Easter isn’t complete without the usual goodies, some of which are age old traditions. One such delight is the Cross Bun; an Easter treat that we look forward to every year. Well, if you still aren’t sure how to bake the bun, we suggest you stay tuned because coming up is a recipe that you can whip up right at home. A veteran in the business will show you step by step how to make those delicious home-made cross buns. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

With Easter upon us, the time for hot cross buns is now! If you haven’t started yet, by Holy Friday everyone else will be eating the traditional Cross Buns. If you think it’s too late to buy, why not bake your own? On Wednesday evening we caught up with Ila Reid, a pastry chef, who has been making cross buns for over fifteen years with a family recipe:

Ila Reid, Pastry Chef

Ila Reid

“I si my ma, my grandma mek it and I always mi like the kitchen and I watch everything and copy yuh know till I get it good. Suh and I teach my girls deh and suh dats why every year I always mek it suh if friends.”

Andrea Polanco

“So in your family, is this a tradition that everybody looks forward to when Easter comes around?”

Ila Reid

“Mhmm definite. Easta dah nuh Easta without dah cross bun.”

Andrea Polanco

“So from how long before you start making cross buns, maybe a week, two days before?”

Ila Reid

“Umm, Wednesday, Thursday. We staat from Wednesday cause sometimes some people gwein weh so dat dah the reason we staat today, sometimes up to Friday you get people still want it.”

And if you still want to get your buns, you can make it right at home with Ms. Ila’s family recipe. A recipe that carries dry ingredients of three pounds of flour, two packs of yeast, spice seeds, raisins, and then you add in half pound shortening and one cup of brown brown sugar, after which you’ll start mixing everything together. Next you’ll add luke-warm coconut milk:

Avery Turner, Ila Reid’s Daughter

“Now the milk adding the milk dah di lee tricky part. Yuh have to yuh know use yuh judgement depending pahn the amount ah flour weh yuh di use. I di use three pound suh yuh  wah bring yuh flour dough not to soft weh it too sticky fi handle  and yuh nuh want it to stiff weh di bun dry.”

Before you continue to knead the dough, you can also add two corks full of vanilla and the essence of your choice:

Avery Turner

“One is good cause yuh have een spice seed already everything come together bring one flava. Suh yuh wah work it een now tek yuh time. The milk should be luke-warm suh that it could raise the bun raise the yeast with the warmness. This look dry suh yuh know it need the milk suh yuh scatter the milk in there not too much work it een. Ih need more and bring it together eena wah dough ih cant too stiff suh yuh need fi add the milk till ih get together. Now yuh have the flour dough put together suh now yuh wah knead it out, punch it out whatever rite yuh roll it out. If yuh notice the flour it nuh too sticky it nuh too stiff. Now yuh wah duh dis till ih smooth ,the flour yuh wah punch it till the surface smooth, yuh wah work it out.”

After kneading the dough you roll it off into medium size balls and set them in a baking pan, after which you’ll start putting on the crosses, for which the bun got its name

Avery Turner

“Now dah cross bun suh yuh have to mek di cross right, suh yuh tek wah small piece ah did Flour and yuh roll it like dis, okay pop it off and yuh set yuh lee cross. Yuh start with the first piece ah the cross and then yuh next piece and yuh set it cross like that, mek sure ih deh down firm.”

After leaving her buns to sit for some forty five minutes to an hour, they are popped in the oven, preheated at three hundred degrees. And some forty five minutes later the cross buns will come out looking golden brown. The buns can be left to cool or eaten warm, so we asked Ms. Ila, what’s the best way of eating a cross bun:

Ila Reid

“With velveeta cheese, or the slice cheese, well now they have the portion cheese, the Happy Cow but we like wi velveeta with it.”

Andrea Polanco

“Suh adding some cheese definitely spice it up?”

Ila Reid

“Have to, have to,  dah nuh cross bun without dah cheese.”

And after the cross buns were out, the sample was a testament of a tried, tested and proven recipe.  But eating isn’t just the fun part of home-made cross buns; it is the entire process of doing it home-style that sets it apart:

Ila Reid

“I think the fun deh eena making it, the kids deh watch yuh, yuh put on the cross pahn it and ofcourse you mek it fi di home, you wah put coconut milk. Weh happen with the bakery dah just wata, spice seed and shortening, you wah dat thick coconut milk suh yuh mek it yuh self or yuh know somebody weh mek it yuh know homemade like me I cyaa do it with wata. I have to do it wit dah think cocnut milk suh any which way yuh want it.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

You can try Ila’s recipe at home, or you can contact her at 607-7911 or 605-6951 for your orders of home-made cross buns.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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6 Responses for “The art of making cross buns for Easter”

  1. BZNinCALI says:

    Since I don’t know Miss Reid, i will have to try her recipe. I haven’t had a good cross bun in 30 years.


    I have not seen or had some Belizean hot cross buns for more than two centuries, but I can say tradition still lives in Belize, and I hope those traditions will be passed down to generations.

  3. disgustedali says:

    maddy….ist….i kinda figured u were ancient. lol.


    You named yourself disgusted…………LMAO.

  5. BZNinCALI says:

    And I hope you enjoyed them… I hope your Easter was as wonderful as mine.

  6. my 2cents says:

    Oh please, tradition ,my foot.Its a damn shame that people in Belize only celebrate Easter for the days off and not the true meaning behind it. Ask most of them what Easter is all about and they have no idea.It shouldn’t be about vacationing and hot cross bun etc.but then again….thats just a way of life now.

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