Page last updated at 12:07 GMT, Monday, 30 March 2009 13:07 UK

Spicy buns return to Easter menu

Alban bun
The Alban buns feature more currents and have a "spicy" aftertaste

St Albans Cathedral has started a campaign to revive a medieval recipe for the modern-day hot cross bun.

The cathedral wants to bring back the Alban bun, first made in 1361, and which has cardamom seeds and more currants to provide a spicy aftertaste.

The intention is to remind people of the bun's connection to Easter.

The bun used to be distributed on Good Friday. The Very Rev Dr Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans, said the meaning of the hot cross bun had been lost.

'Medieval taste'

He said: "Given that hot cross buns are now available through the year in most supermarkets, most have forgotten that connection and we'd like to bring it to people's attention again.

"We think that by beginning it here, where hot cross buns started, we can raise people's consciousness a bit about what they're supposed to represent, why that cross is there on that bun.

"That seems to us quite important really."

The Alban bun recipe includes "grains of paradise" - cardamom seeds which are credited with giving the bun its "special spicy, medieval taste".

The buns, which have the cross cut into the bread rather than piped on top, have gone on sale in the Cathedral cafe.

Dr John said: "They were invented to be given to the poor and we're making a special batch in liaison with one of our local supermarkets on Maundy Thursday and the proceeds from that will go towards Open Door, which is a local charity for the homeless in St Albans."

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