A Recipe for Easter, Caribbean Style

By Fernando Franco
CJ Contributor

As a boy growing up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I remember Semana Santa (Holy Week) being a week filled with traditions and celebrations.

It also was a good excuse to spend time with the family or go on holiday.

When I moved to Trinidad, I was intrigued to find that holiday celebrations here are quite similar except for the dishes served.

During Easter, Argentines put aside our love for red meat and eat fish. Classic dishes include “Empanadas de Vigilia” stuffed with fillings such as tuna, cod, shrimps, cheese and vegetables.

For dessert, “Huevos de Pascua” and brioche-like cakes with custard cream toppings and cherries line are popular. Those items line all the bakery and supermarket shelves. Then Sunday is the day for the asado, the distinctive Argentine-style of barbecue, which includes chorizos, morcillas and beef with chimichurri and potato fries.

Of course, Easter in the Trinidad also means fish.

Main courses like fresh whole snapper, kingfish or salted buljol are enjoyed during Lent and entrées like roast chicken, ham and baked pork are expected items at Easter Sunday meals. Dishes like those, with all the requisite trimmings and accompaniments – ground provisions and side dishes made from white or lima beans – are usually some of the most popular items on The Waterfront’s Easter brunch buffet.

And, of course, hot cross buns are the traditional sweet treat. Easter bun recipes vary throughout the Caribbean.  Some versions include tropical spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, while others feature additives such as mixed peel, dried fruit and raisins.

At Hyatt Regency Trinidad, we keep it tasty, texture-perfect and simple. Why not try our Hot Cross Bun recipe this year?

Hot Cross Bun Recipe

Ingredients:

1 tbsp yeast
1 tsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
1 cup warm milk
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
4 tbsp margarine or butter
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp sultanas
2 tbsp currants
2 eggs
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground turmeric

Glaze

Dissolve 2 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp hot water

Icing

1 cup confectioner’s sugar
4 tbsps milk or cream
A pinch of salt
1/4 tsp lime juice

Directions:

1. Combine first 4 ingredients
2. Stand aside in a warm place for about 10-15 minutes
3. Sift flour, turmeric and salt in a large bowl and rub in the margarine or butter
4. Add sugar, vanilla essence, cinnamon to yeast mixture
5. Add the eggs to the yeast mixture, beating well after each addition
6. Add sultanas and currants to yeast mixture
7. Pour yeast mixture into flour mixture
8. Combine to create a soft dough
9. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes
10. Place in a greased bowl and turn over to grease the top
11. Cover with a plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour)
12. Punch the dough down and shape into 16 balls
13. Place on lightly greased baking sheets
14. Cover and let rise until doubled (20 – 30 minutes)
15. Using a sharp knife cut a cross or X on the top of each roll (if desired)
16. Bake at 375F for 12 to 15 minutes
17. Meanwhile make icing and glaze by combining the mentioned ingredients
18. When buns are baked, brush with glaze
19. When cool, drizzle icing over the top of each roll following the lines of the cut cross 

Chef Fernando Franco, a Caribbean Journal contributor, is executive chef at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad.