Slow Days: Aunt Ethel’s Hot Cross Buns  

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

When I was a child, the religious season of Lent meant that there would be Hot Cross Buns for breakfast. Maybe on Sunday, maybe on Friday. My Mother bought them at the A&P supermarket, Jane Parker brand. We loved them. When Dear Husband and I set up housekeeping, I wanted to make Hot Cross Buns for Lent. Many recipes were tried, but I wasn’t satisfied. When Good Friend Joe mentioned that his Aunt Ethel made great hot cross buns, I asked for the recipe. Ever since, I have made these prior to the start of Lent. Of course, I changed the recipe with the addition of candied citron [part of the Jane Parker recipe] and white whole wheat flour [to make it more healthy]. One ingredient that did not change was the use of potato water — water that is drained off from boiled potatoes — a key to success. Some people want their HCBs on Sundays during Lent, some on Fridays. Some eat them on Ash Wednesday and some on Good Friday. Some eat them only on Easter. Whatever. We like them on the 1st Friday of Lent, then every other week until Good Friday. And every year I sent a half dozen to Good Friend Joe and his Dear Wife, to eat whenever they like. Here’s how I prepare them:

Mise en place for 18 Hot Cross Buns.
¾ cup milkScald milk, pour into bowl
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
¼ cup butter
Stir in sugar, salt and butter. Cool to lukewarm while the butter melts.
½ cup warm potato water
2 pkgs dry yeast = 4.5 tsp
Measure warm water into medium bowl. Add yeast and let sit while yeast dissolves and starts to bubble. Blend into lukewarm milk mixture.
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup each raisins + citron + candied peel 1 tsp nutmeg
1½ tsp cinnamon 3 cups flour + more for kneading
Toss the fruit with a bit of flour in a bowl. Stir together egg, fruit, spices, and flour. Knead well, adding flour to prevent sticking.
Put dough in a buttered/oiled bowl, turn to coat the top of the dough. Cover with a clean towel. Let rise for 45 mins.

Punch down, divide in half, cut each half into 9 equal balls.  **freeze at this point: put dough balls on a cookie sheet and freeze them until solid. Portion into zipper bags for Lenten breakfasts.

The night before serving, take frozen dough balls from the freezer and put on a buttered baking dish. Cover with a tea towel and let rise overnight in a cool place. 
Before breakfast, bake at 350F 15-18 mins.
Confectioner’s sugar milk or orange juiceMix icing until just a little runny. Spoon icing in the shape of a cross onto the top of each bun and serve warm.

And what a fine Lenten breakfast this is, with fruit yogurt and Canadian Bacon. Thanks, Aunt Ethel!

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