Three years ago I was homesick for a slice of Jamaican bun and cheese.
It was late March, a few weeks short of Good Friday. In previous years and for as long as I could remember, I’d have had at least one five-pound bun on my table. Traditionally gifted at Easter time, buns are a holiday treat in every Jamaican household.
At the time I was living in Singapore, an island half way around the world and an Easter bun-free zone. If I’d been living in Toronto I’d have had a choice of bakery and grocery stores to buy from. Local bakeries made their own and groceries flew them in from the homeland. But I was in Singapore and while there was no end of kueh, chang and puffs (all perfectly good in their own right) there was nothing like real Jamaican Easter bun.
So what is Easter bun?
It’s an improved, Jamaican version of hot cross buns. Improved because it is bigger, better and sweeter. Similar to hot cross buns, they are spicy yeast breads filled with candied citron and raisins. Different in that the spice is nutmeg, sweeter in that it’s molasses and brown sugar, bigger in that it’s a loaf not a bun. Even if it is called a bun, it’s a “bun”, not bread. Unlike hot cross buns, it is best eaten with cheese. Salty, orange Tastee cheese from a tin is traditional but any mellow semi-hard cheese will do.
So back to Singapore – I wanted bun & cheese but couldn’t buy it. The only way to get my fix was to make it myself. I wrote about it here. It took a couple tries but eventually there was success. I made bun and it was good.
Fast forward to present day. It’s Easter and once again, I’m on an island, in another Easter bun-free zone.
This time …. Nooo problem, ma’n.
Have a Happy Easter week-end!
Ucluelet, B.C. April 2019