There is perhaps no better known Easter time tradition in Jamaica than Easter bun and cheese. Sure, most people go to church for Easter service. Easter dinner tends to consist of fried or escovitch fish (steamed and served with pickled veggies). But everyone’s talkin’ bout bun an’ cheese.
Easter bun is similar to British hot crossed buns, made with molasses, loaded with dried fruit, and in Jamaica is eaten with a processed cheese that comes in a can. When someone first offered me a taste of this “cheese” I was absolutely appalled (that’s not cheese!), but pair it with some spiced bun and woyyy di ting sell off!
Today my host mom taught a few of the young people in our community how to make Easter bun. While the pre-made variety is readily available for purchase, there’s nothing quite like warming your home with the smell of freshly baked goods. It’s easy to make, so feel free to try this one at home, folks! My guess is that it would be tasty with a slice of sharp cheddar in place of the processed cheese.
Special Easter Bun
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup dark sugar
- 1 bottle Stout (dragon)
- 1 cup honey
- 3-4 teaspoons mixed spice
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon marmalade
- 1 tablespoon strawberry jam
- 2 tablespoon butter/margarine
- raisins, cherries or mixed peel, chopped
- Warm stout on very low flame. When stout is just luke warm add sugar, molasses, honey, marmalade, jam and butter. Stir until dissolved
- Sift flour, baking powder and spice, add chopped fruits to mixture
- Add liquid to flour mixture, stirring until properly mixed
- Bake at 350 degrees F in well greased pan for 1-1 ¼ hours
Famed Jamaican folklorist and poet Louise Bennette Coverly, fondly known as Miss Lou, even wrote a poem about this Easter time treat:
Bun an Cheese by Louise Bennett Coverley
Excerpt from Laugh with Louise
Dem Bwoy dah jeer Miss Matty,
An a mock her an a tease,
Dem a kill demself wid laugh mah
An a call her Bun an Cheese.
Dem sey from Good Friday mawnin
Her jawbone no get no ease
Mawnin noon an night an bedtime
She was nyamin bun an cheese.
Fe breakfuss lunch an dinna
She got so–so bun an cheese
She kea it go a church an
Movin pictures if you please.
She no count salfish an ackee
Cut her y’eye pon rice an peas
Hear her “me put pot pon fire
When me got me bun an cheese!”
Easter time gwine come an go weh
Days an moment fly like breeze
But as long as Matty live dem bwoy
Gwine call her bun an cheese!
Enjoy this famous Jamaican tradition, from our kitchen to yours.