Folk lore has it that Ostara, or Eostre, Goddess of Spring, gave healing to a wounded bird in the forest by transforming it into a hare. Being still partly bird, the hare gifted the life-giving goddess with eggs as a demonstration of thanks. This breaks it down for anyone who, like me, wondered how the easter bunny came to lay chocolate eggs on a given Sunday in Spring.
There is, of course, many tales telling of the origins of what we have now come to call Easter. Tracing back to Pagan tradition always throws light upon the same root: that Eostre is a time of celebration in honour of rebirth and renewal.
Knowing my magick skills still aren’t up to golden egg laying scratch, I headed not for the woods but the kitchen, to rustle up some golden delicious Turmeric, Date and Ginger hot cross buns. Eponymous with this seasonal celebration, I’ve always loved me a HCB… However, the ones you buy in the shops are not usually vegan, and if they are, are laced with sugar. So here you have a recipe for low sugar, non-dairy treats. They taste cracking too (soz).
Golden Turmeric, Date & Ginger Buns
250g bread flour
250g plain flour
1 tsp salt
7g sachet yeast
30g golden caster sugar
1 tsp allspice
2 tsp turmeric
100g dates, chopped
60g crystallised ginger, chopped
125ml plant milk (I used hemp)
125ml lukewarm water
30ml (+ enough for coating) olive oil
For the crosses & glaze:
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp apricot jam or marmalade
1/2 tbsp water
Stir together the flours, salt, yeast, sugar, spices, dates & ginger in a large bowl. Separately, combine the water and milk, and then pour into the dry mix, along with the oil. Stir together until bound (you may need to do the last part with your paws, to get it fully together). On a floured work surface, knead your dough until it is beautifully shiny and springs back to the finger prod. This takes around 10 minutes. Pop it back in the bowl, cover with a tea towel and tuck away in a warm place to rise up, which takes between an hour to an hour and a half. For those of us without proving ovens, an airing cupboard does the trick (as long as your hot water is on!). When your ball has risen, cut it evenly into twelve mini balls, roll them in your palms and press them out, bun stylee. On an oiled baking sheet, line them up so they are not quite touching, cover them over with cling film, and put them back into your proving place for a further 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Once your doughy pals have puffed up, mix together your flour and water, and pipe on your crosses. If, like me, you forget to buy a piping bag, you can do it with a teaspoon. Go rustic. Pop them in the oven for around 20 mins. Make your glaze simply by heating your jam and water in a saucepan, and as soon as you take your golden buns outta the oven, use a glazing brush to cover them with this sticky mixture. Leave on a rack to cool. Or like us in this house, eat them straight away while they’re steamy hot!