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July 11 - St Benedict’s Feastday

Updated: Jun 21, 2019

St Benedict is the patron saint of Europe and the founder of the Benedictine Order, and created the rules that became basis for life in monasteries throughout Europe He is also venerated in the the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Anglican Communion and Old Catholic Churches

Much of what we know abut St. Benedict is found in the second volume of Pope Gregory I's four-book Dialogues.  He founded many monasteries including the famous monastery of Monte Cassino between Rome and Naples

However, there are also many legends about St. Benedict such as when the devil turned into a beautiful woman to tempt him. To resist giving in to sin, Benedict threw himself into a thorn bush. Then there is the legend hat he was given a poisoned bun by an enemy. St. Benedict blessed it and a cross appeared on the top of the roll. This allegedly led to the practice of monks carving a cross in the rolls that they gave b to the poor.

This legend let to the practice of some Benedictines celebrating his feastday with Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

based on this Gourmet Magazine recipe)

  • 1 cup warm milk

  • two 1/4-ounce packages (5 teaspoons) active dry yeast

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice (or 1 scant tsp five spice)

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 1/2 cup dried currants

  • 1/3 cup golden raisins

  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange zest

  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest

  • Egg for egg wash

  • Icing sugar and milk for the crosses

  1. Heat the milk up in the microwave or a pot until it is hot but not too hot to touch. You should be able to comfortably put your finger in it. Stir in teaspoon of sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top and set aside to foam

  2. Lightly whisk the egg and the egg yolk together and put by your mixer

  3. In the bowl of your mixer put in the remaining sugar, the flour, spices, and salt.  Then turn the mixer on low and mix in the whisked egg, the melted butter, the yeast and milk mixture, and the zest, currants, and raisins. 

  4. Switch to a dough hook and knead for 10 minutes until the raisins fall off the side of the dough instead of sticking to it.  Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1.5 hours)

  5. On a floured surface with floured hands knead dough briefly and form into two 12-inch-long logs. Cut each log crosswise into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and arrange about 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. If you are making them ahead of time, loosely cover with plastic wrap and set bun in the fridge overnight. Let buns return to room temperature (about 1 hour) before baking. If baking right away:  let buns rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

  6. preheat oven to 400 Brush buns with a beaten egg and bake for 12 minutes. Keep an eye on them! You don't want them to over-bake and become hard. Mine were done after a little less than 12 minutes. You can check by lifting them up and seeing if their bottoms have browned.

  7. Let cool on racks. Mix together icing sugar and milk until it is thick enough to pipe. Pipe crosses onto the buns


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