CHOCOLATE eggs left by the Easter bunny will be many people's favourite treat this weekend, but this time of year would not be complete without a deliciously baked hot cross bun.

For shoppers visiting the Asda store in Skelton, east Cleveland this year, they will be able to enjoy the traditional bun thanks to the work of its skilled hot cross bun crosser, Jackie Dawson.

At Easter, the bakery team at the supermarket bake and precision cross up to 4,500 hot cross bun per week – as demand for the nation’s favourite baked Easter treat remains higher than ever.

With more than six years of experience in the role, Ms Dawson has perfected the art of bun crossing, which means no off-centre crosses on the sultana-filled seasonal buns.

The traditional method for making the cross in some areas was to use shortcrust pastry however, more recent recipes use a paste consisting of flour and water.

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Ms Dawson, a baker at Asda in Skelton, said: "Hot cross buns continue to be a seasonal favourite with our customers and are a very traditional item, so it’s important to have an eye for detail – we don’t want a wonky cross on top of the bun.

“We take great pride in ensuring the same level of quality and attention is paid to the thousandth bun, as we do the first.

“The ideal hot cross bun should be well risen and light, it should have plump and juicy fruit, a hint of spice and, of course, a perfectly central cross.

“I’ve perfected my cross-spotting technique and love seeing them fly off the shelves.

“For me, the best way to serve is to split it, toast it until it is golden brown and spread with a slightly salted butter on the top- the perfect flavour combination.”

“They are versatile too and make a great breakfast or light snack with a cup of tea or even as a snack for the kids.”

The bun is traditionally eaten on Good Friday in the UK, Ireland, Australia, India, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa.

The bun marks the end of Lent and different parts have a certain meaning, including the cross representing the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices inside signifying the spices used to embalm him at his burial.

It is estimated more than 200 million hot cross buns will be sold across the entire UK in supermarkets during this year's Easter period.