Yesterday I read a news article mocking the English Defence League for failing to realise that a satirical news story claiming a bakery had decided to remove the ‘offensive’ cross from traditional hot cross buns was indeed a spoof and reacting with their usual rabid froth of outrage.
One indignant commenter declared, ‘What next, ”hot crescent bun” …?‘
And that was it, the idea for my Hot Multicultural Buns was born. I mean, if right-wing bigots think it’s a bad idea, surely it’s a bloody excellent one, right? And of course, I took it a few steps further too!
I enlisted Pete to help me make these buns today, so keen was I to counter the rhetoric of the EDL.
Using a Nigella Lawson recipe from her excellent book, Feast, we made eight buns. I pasted a traditional Christian cross on two, an Islamic crescent and star on two more, a Jewish star of David on another two and a Hindu swastika on the last pair.
My icing skills aren’t great and we forgot to egg-wash the buns before I piped on the shapes but you can just about make out the designs and I hope you’ll enjoy and perpetuate the idea.
Kavey's Hot Multicultural Buns
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Hot Cross Buns.
Nigella makes 16 mini buns with this recipe; we made 8 regular sized ones instead.
For the dough:
- 150 ml milk
- 50 g unsalted butter
- zest of an orange
- 1 clove
- 2 cardamom pods
- 400 g bread flour
- 7 g packet of easy-blend yeast
- 125 g mixed dried fruit
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1 large egg
For the egg wash:
- 1 large egg (beaten with a little milk)
For the multicultural patterns:
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp water
For the sugar glaze:
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp boiling water
Extra equipment: You will also need a clear plastic freezer bag or piping bag to pipe the multicultural symbols onto the buns.
Heat the milk, butter, orange zest, clove and cardamom pods in a saucepan until the butter melts, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse as it cools down.
Weigh the flour, yeast and dried fruit into a large bowl and add the spices. When the milk has cooled to blood temperature remove the whole spices and beat in the egg. Pour the mix into the dry ingredients and bring together into a dough.
Knead by hand or with a machine with a dough hook; if too dry add a little more warm milk or water. Knead until the dough is silky and elastic, though the dried fruit won’t allow for a satin smooth finish.
Shape into a ball, place into a large bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to prove overnight in the fridge or for several hours in a cool room.
Take the dough out of the fridge and set aside for half hour to come up to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF.
Punch the dough down and knead again.
Divide the dough into 8 portions and roll into rounds.
Line the buns up fairly snugly but not quite toughing on a silicon baking sheet or lined baking tray. Cover with clingfilm or a clean teatowel and leave to rise again for 45-60 minutes.
Brush the buns with an egg wash.
Mix flour, sugar and water into a smooth, thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with narrow nozzle or plastic freezer bag, then snipping the very tip of the corner off.
Pipe crosses, crescents, stars of david and swastikas as you like.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Just before taking the buns out of the oven, mix sugar and boiling water together for the glaze.
Brush each bun with the glaze as soon you remove them from the oven to give a sweet and shiny finish.
Enjoy warm, halved and spread generously with good quality salted butter, or leave to cool and serve toasted with butter and jam. Indeed enjoy them however you like, but I do hope you share them with friends of all colours, backgrounds and faiths!
Edit: Please be clear. The swastika iced onto my buns is a Hindu swastika, a symbol perverted by the Nazis to be sure, but reclaimed here as a symbol of the Hindu faith. I do not hold with suggestions that Hindus (and others) may no longer use the swastika, which has been associated with their faith for hundreds and hundreds of years. If you cannot see past Nazism, that is your prerogative, but this post is absolutely not showing any support whatsoever to Nazism or its supporters.
Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!42 Comments to "Kavey’s Hot Multicultural Buns"
Hi Kavey I can see what you have tried to do here. Unfortunately the Hindu Swastika is not clear and what you have baked resembles a Nazi swastika. The majority of people of all faiths in this country will find that offensive. I can see you have tried to be satirical in your reaction to right wing over zealous bigots, however, in doing so you’ve baked a bun with an extreme right logo on it. I have to be honest, I think this was a joke that went wrong.
Sammie, it’s VERY CLEARLY not a nazi swastika and it’s ridiculous that a symbol used by Hindus for hundreds and hundreds of years would be considered offensive because of the actions of the Nazis.
Why perpetuate their bigotry by giving the swastika only the connotation they gave it rather than the one it had originally and continues to have?
Your reaction very rudely dismisses the validity of a non-aggresive religion to claim back and to use without fear their own icons and that’s not acceptable to me.
I’m sorry that you don’t see it this way, but have to tell you I couldn’t disagree with you more strongly.
Also, there is no reason to find this offensive if one takes it as it’s clearly intended – as a Hindu swastika, you can see it’s painted as such in the before-baking photo – and don’t allow the Nazis another victory by perverting it into a representation of nazism.
You are completely right and I sincerely apologise for perpetrating the Nazi association with what is a Hindu symbol of peace. I unreservedly apologise for my comment and any offence or upset that it may have caused. Sammie
Sammie, no need to apologise, I appreciate that you took the time to comment, even though I disagreed so strongly with what you said, it’s always good to discuss and debate and learn from these conversations. It’s also prompted to add the addendum at the end of the post, which I hope will help clarify for other readers. Thank you again for engaging, and for your very kind apology.
Loving this Kavey… I think it’s refreshing to see a cook poking a bit of fun at right wing idiots… good job 🙂
Thanks Katie, glad it made you smile!
I think these are fab! There’s a bun for everyone 🙂
I’ve just learned that the swastika is also part of the Buddhist faith as well as Hindu, which makes sense given the origins of Buddhism, so we’ve covered five major religious here, which makes me happy!
I’m sorry but I do not agree. That’s exactly what the US citizens wanted to do with the Confederate Flag and it was forced to be taken down everywhere. Just like the flag the swastika was turned from something good to represent something evil and will never be viewed by most people as something good again.
You have the right to view it however you like, however millions of Indians and those elsewhere in the world have the right to disagree with you and view it very differently indeed.
Well, I learnt something today, (having had a Polish grandfather that flee Poland during WW2 and established in France) I didn’t even know that the Nazis had “stolen” the Hindu swastika, it’s obvious that it’s very confusing and disturbing seeing it but interesting to know however.
P.S. I made my first hot cross buns 2 years ago and I love them, yum! 😀
Thank you for taking the time to read and understand where I’m coming from. Yes, it’s definitely a shock at first glance but I’m truly hoping people will read what I’ve said and agree that this ancient symbol is stronger than the Nazi perversion, having been around for hundreds if not thousands of years.
The only way to deal with these idiots is not to take them seriously and I like that you are poking fun at that. Your buns look great!
I love the idea of multi-cultural hot Spring buns. The UK is an increasingly secular society and for the majority of people Easter is about chocolate eggs and school spring breaks. We are fortunate that in this country we do have the right to worship as we choose or not at all. Thank you for your thought provoking post and may you celebrate the coming of spring in whatever way you wish. x
Dear Janice, you have hit the nail on the head. We live in a very multicultural Britain, within a population that is broadly pretty secular, and we are lucky to have freedom to worship (or not) as we choose. I would never support any move to stop Christians making hot cross buns, as is traditional, and has become part of the way Easter is celebrated. But I also wanted to create this multicultural version, firstly to push back against the bigots, and secondly just to reach a friendly hand out to all my friends of all backgrounds, races and religions!
That’s a great and a fun idea Kavey! I didn’t even know what the cross buns meant, or that the nazis stole the Hindu swastika!
Thanks Diana, lovely to share with you the history of the swastika in that case. And thank you for giving my idea your thumbs up!
I love the multicultural buns.
I’m not offended by the swastika bun. The Nazis did so many terrible things, letting them get away with appropriating a religious symbol on top of all that would be wrong. Hindus shouldn’t be berated for reclaiming their symbol, they should be applauded for returning it to its origins and removing its power as a symbol of hate. (My Angloindian grandfather was a British Army pathologist who helped in the clear-up at Belsen.)
Thank you so much, Mim, you completely understand where I’m coming from. The swastika was a symbol of Hinduism for hundreds, probably thousands of years, and appropriated by the Nazis for a few scant years. Of course, it’s natural for the instinctive response of those affected by the horror of those years, or who have grown up in cultures so affected, to be revulsion because of the first connotation for them of the swastika is Nazism, but I ask only that they stop and take the time to think, no, that is not how it’s being used here, and that this symbol had a heritage and continues to have meaning quite outside of the Nazi usage. Thank you for your comment, it’s much appreciated.
I love the buns kav. And of course you are right. ‘Swastik’ is a very old Hindu symbol and word, around 6000 years old. The word or symbol of Swastik simply denotes ‘well being’.
Su meaning ‘good’
Asti meaning ‘to be’.
It is used as a symbol of blessing. Like Christians would draw a cross to bless, we Hindus draw a Swastik. We draw it as a blessing at the start of every prayer, every wedding, birth, death, to bless on all occasions. Hindu wedding cards usually have a Swatika drawn in front. It is a universally used Hindu symbol at least from Vedic period, 5-6000 years old. We Hindus get quite cross when people assume that Nazis own it
Kav, my child, the only thing you have done wrong is drawn it wrong way around. The correct one is right handed, the arm moving from right to left, that is all Many practising Hindus draw it incorrectly too.
Moan/lecture over !
Aah, I wasn’t sure which way it was, as I had feeling it was opposite way to how Nazis drew it, so I googled to check but most of the pictures I found of the Hindu one were this way round so I copied them. So sad I got wrong way! Will do other way around next time.
Just double checked with nani; she says you were right, i have been drawing it wrong all this time :(!
She says that the direction of the Swastik’s arms is to do with the direction the earth’s rotation . Now i did not know this. If I knew it, I had definitely forgotten it! Funny, how talking about your food taught me a new thing today!
Oh that’s so cool, ma, tell her thanks and thank you for checking as well!! Give her kiss from me!
I used marzipan shapes to top my buns, and that bakes up lovely. 🙂
I am the granddaughter of a POW, held in Stalag Luft III for years, did the walk to Poland chained to three other men weighing not even 6 stone. I can tell you now, he would have eaten those buns with great gusto, and would do so now if he could, bless him (he passed years ago) and he would see why claiming back that swastika is exactly the right thing to do.
Fascists steal, they corrupt, they sully. Time to take it back, and imbue it with the light and love again.
The symbol is not the political movement. The people who wore it were the perpetrators. Let’s make that symbol what it should be again. I can’t think of anything more loving, and warming, than a scented, spiced bun. Look where we got those spices from. I bet EDL members still eat curries, and pizzas, and kebabs…
Thank you Lisa, your comment fills me with happiness.
Lisa, to us Hindus, swastik was never lost, not even when Hitler was messing around with it :). Hindus never stopped using it. It belongs to us, denoting all that is good. People like Hitler come and go, leaving a huge trail of suffering and hatred in their wake. Great religions, good people and nice buns survive 🙂
Very interesting. I would like to read more about the Hindu swastika. I had never heard that the Nazi symbol came from somewhere else. There is so much about this time in all of our history that I don’t know. I am learning some about it. I just still cannot understand how one person can lead so many to do such terrible things. But, that’s a discussion for another time. I admit that I also don’t know much about the Hindu religion. I know a bit more about Buddhism, and I would guess that they are both peace loving and teach similar ideas. Thanks for taking on such a difficult subject. I think that food can heal all wounds, or start to heal them at least. So, I applaud you for taking this subject on with the universal language of food.
Debi, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I grew up in a nominally Hindu family (though I’m not religious myself, if I were it would be Hindu). Our dearest and closest family friends throughout my childhood were a German-Jewish family, the father was a very young child when his family fled Nazi Germany, after his sister was attacked my soldiers. That was actually one of the core triggers to my lifelong interest in modern history – I wanted to understand how the world wars and the holocaust has happened. Of course, my studying never provided a real answer other than the horror that humanity can be when it’s underside is allowed to flourish. I studied history at college and university too. Hence I know I’m not taking lightly the use of swastika to represent Hinduism (and Buddhism) even though many see a Nazi symbol first. If I bring knowledge of the true meaning of the symbol to even a few, that’s more than I’d hoped for when I published this post. And I agree wholeheartedly that food is a wonderful healer of wounds and a bringer together of people.
If you store them in an air tight box they ll stay crunchy and golden for a month no problem. I do them in large batches to save messing about all the time . . . kind of nice to snack on too, although I wouldn t advise having too many or too often!
Thanks for the tip, Blake!
Fighting back through clever baking – I love it! Bet they taste fantastic too. 🙂
Thanks Elizabeth, a Nigella recipe so they taste lovely!
I always knew that those two symbols looked similar but I did not realize they were actually so similar, maybe because of the dots…
Your hot cross buns look amazing! 🙂
Hey lovely Margot, thank you!
Inspired by this post and (rarely for us) having a whole weekend at home, I set about to make hot [something] buns. I thought my husband might get a kick out of it, but when it finally came to put them in the oven, I remembered the glaze but forgot the icing for the patterns! Oops. So we ended up with hot non-theist buns instead. Regardless of religious affiliation, they were tasty 🙂
PS several first nations peoples in the US and Canada also use a “swastika like” symbol and you’ll see it on many reserves to this day. The hindus are not alone in wanting to reclaim their heritage from a truly hateful regime. Fingers crossed that one day it happens.
Thank you Chaundra. I should say that Hindus in India don’t feel a need to reclaim it as such, they continue to use it as they have for millennia. It’s more of an issue in the West where the symbols of Nazism are more in people’s minds, and that’s the minds I’d like to reach and say, hang on, let me tell you about the real meaning of the swastika, perhaps even help you to replace the initial reaction it arouses in you to one of well being instead…
Love that, so cute! And I should have left some blank for nontheists!! Didn’t think of it!
Like how you have made your point in a positive way. I am Hindu and we have always used the Swatika with pride and Hitler’s mis-use never dimmed it’s core meaning – that to symbolise well-being – Shubh Labh, a symbol used in prayers and on wedding cards. It is common to Hinduism, Buddism and Jainism. It’s sad that so many people don’t know it true origin, hopefully, such posts serve to also educate. What irks me most though is that those who do not understand how tolerant Hinduism is and use our religious symbols and photos of gods and goddess wrongly under the garb of ignorance. Having said that, it does not have to do with what your post is about. Love your multi-cultural buns and I wish I could eat a couple of them warm and freshly baked ummm
Thank you so much for your lovely comment Manjiri!