Imagine – only religious programmes on television, no shops open, no cinemas open, no sporting events, no meat or treats to eat and no alcohol. In the past in Ireland Good Friday was a day of penance, fasting, and prayer. People didn’t eat until midday and then, all they had was some bread and water. Many people went to church to complete the Stations of the Cross and families visited the graveyards to pray for their dead.
Nowadays most of these restrictions have been lifted. Although it is one of the most important days in the Christian calendar, it is not a holiday in the Republic. Banks and other public institutions are closed, but shops stay open.
And – no alcohol can be sold on Good Friday; pubs are closed, and nightclubs close at midnight on the night before (Holy Thursday). However, if you are a travelling, you can buy alcohol at the airport and on trains. You’ll need a ticket to prove it, though!!
So – are all the pubs closed? No, if the pub serves meals or is in a popular tourist spot, you can eat there and drink non alcoholic drinks. So as they say,’ there’s nothing as queer as a pub with no beer’.
Hot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday
1 cup milk
2 TBSP yeast
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter, melted, cooled
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
|5 cups flour
1 1/3 cups currants or raisins
1 egg white Glaze:
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1- 2 tbsp milk
In a small saucepan, heat milk to very warm. Pour warm milk in the bowl of mixer and sprinkle yeast over. Mix to dissolve and let sit for 5 minutes.
With mixer running at low speed, add sugar, salt, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and eggs. Gradually add flour, dough will be wet and sticky, and continue kneading with dough hook until smooth, about 5 minutes. Detach bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30-45 minutes.
Return bowl to mixer and knead until smooth and elastic, for about 3 more minutes. Add currants or raisins and knead until well mixed. At this point, dough will still be fairly wet and sticky. Shape dough in a ball, place in a buttered dish, cover with plastic wrap and let rise overnight in the refrigerator. Excess moisture will be absorbed by the morning.
Let dough sit at room temperature for about a half-hour. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces (in half, half again, etc., etc.). Shape each portion into a ball and place on baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
In the meantime, pre-heat oven to 400° F.
When buns have risen, take a sharp knife and carefully slash buns with a cross shape all the way across the top. Brush them with egg white and place in oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° F, then bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack. Whisk together glaze ingredients, and spoon over buns in the cross pattern made earlier. Serve warm with butter, if possible.