Nothing symbolises the joys of spring, like hot cross buns. Soft, spiced buns packed with dried fruit and glazed with a sweet, spiced syrup whilst still warm. Our hot cross buns have been refreshed for the season, harnessing heritage grains and spices. To make a classic, more classic.
Hot cross happiness
It’s said that hot cross buns are an evolution of the Alban Bun, which was distributed to the poor at St Albans Abbey on Good Friday in the 14th century. The signature difference ingredients-wise is that the Alban Bun was spiced with grains of paradise, in contrast to today’s favoured mixed spice.
This year we have chosen to honour this forgotten spice, a seed in spite of its name, which provides a complex peppery warmth, lifted by notes of coriander, ginger and citrus. Everything you could want for a humble hot cross bun.
Spice of paradise
Grains of paradise is a spice that comes from the seeds of a plant called Aframomum melegueta, native to West Africa. It has been used for centuries in traditional cooking and medicinal practices – and is thought to have been in the original hot cross bun recipe.
Grains of paradise has a unique flavour profile that is somewhat similar to black pepper, with hints of coriander, ginger, cardamom and citrus. It has a slightly bitter taste that can add depth and complexity to dishes, including our hot cross buns.
We’ve updated our hot cross bun recipe to contain a nutritious blend of flours, including wholemeal, semolina and dark rye. This diversity of grains is not only beneficial for gut health and agriculture but enhances the flavour of our buns too.
Better gut health:
A diversity of grains can help maintain a healthy gut microbiome, which is important for overall health and wellness. Grains come in many different varieties and offer a range of vitamins and minerals. By eating a variety of grains, you can increase your intake of important nutrients.
Different grains have different textures, flavours and cooking characteristics, so by using a blend of flours (not to mention the spices and generous helping of fruit – a quarter of the bun is vine fruit), we have enhanced the flavour of our hot cross buns.
Growing a diverse range of crops, including grains, can be beneficial for the environment and for sustainable agriculture. Diverse crop systems can help to reduce soil erosion and the need for chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and can support biodiversity in the ecosystem.
We have been working with our partners and friends at Shipton Mill, who supplies all of our flour, for 25 years. Set in the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, the mill at Shipton Moyne Wood has been producing flour since the time of the Domesday Book, over 900 years ago. Today they combine traditional methods with cutting-edge technology to produce the highest quality flours.
Hot or not?
There is a common misconception that hot cross buns must be toasted. While the toasted hot cross bun, slathered in salted butter, is undeniably an irresistible treat, this method is largely encouraged to cover a multitude of sins. But hot cross buns as fresh as ours need no toasting. Enjoyed fresh, the soft and fluffy texture of the bun is more pronounced.
Good any time of day, there is always a batch of hot cross buns emerging fresh and hot out of our ovens in spring. Straight into impatient hands, made quickly sticky.
Bacon hot cross buns Sandwich
The anticipation of biting into a warm bacon sandwich. But make it a hot cross bacon sandwich. If, by some miraculous turn of events, you have a few hot cross buns leftover, treat yourself to a decadent twist on a classic with our Bacon Hot Cross Buns Sandwich.
Gently toasted and filled with maple-glazed streaky bacon. They’re sweet. They’re salty. A delight.