Did you know that the spices in hot cross buns represent those used to embalm Jesus as his burial? A traditional recipe might use a dash of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice – but it’s not by any means the only time you might reach for the spice rack round this time of year.
Traditional Easter dishes vary from culture to culture, but spices are a common theme during this celebratory feast. There’s Italian Torta pasqualina – a savoury spinach pie laced with nutmeg and allspice. In Sweden a cardamom bun called ‘semla’ is traditional round this time of year and in Cyprus families gather to make flaounes, flavoured with fresh-ground mahlep (see p.260 in Taverna for a recipe by Georgina Hayward).
When there's so much choice, the only problem is what to cook!
If you’re still struggling to put together an Easter menu, we have picked out some of our favourite recipes laden with spice and crammed with flavour to help you along the way.
Sure, we all like a spring lamb ... but a spring lamb with a punchy spice rub is even better. Try this recipe for Turmeric Lamb by Thomasina Miers which is laden with flavour. (Looking for another side dish to go with this? We recommend our carrot salad with a quick cardamom dressing).
A traditional Italian Torta Pasqualina makes a great vegetarian option and we love Ottolenghi's recipe which uses nutmeg and allspice alongside the fresh herbs and chard to create an Easter centrepiece.
Chocolatier extraordinaire Paul A Young has created an epic fusion dessert: 'chocolate and hot-cross-bun caramel pots' -- a decadent end to an Easter feast! (We particularly loved The Telegraph's suggestion of spreading the leftovers on toast for Monday's breakfast!)
If you like to eke-out the feasting with an afternoon tea, then why not try these traditional Swedish Semlas. As is often the way with Scandi bakes, both the dough and the filling are laced with fresh ground cardamom, making them a fantastically fragrant treat.