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Posted on Mar 17, 2016 |

Rita’s Recipe: Empty Tomb Buns, and a Centerpiece

Rita’s Recipe: Empty Tomb Buns, and a Centerpiece

Fun for kids to make and eat: "Empty Tomb" muffins.

Fun for kids to make and eat: “Empty Tomb” muffins.

Foods and Herbs Associated with Passover and Easter

Aloe : Numbers 24:6

Like aloes that the Lord has planted, like cedar trees beside the waters….

There were 2 kinds of aloes: the first was a fragrant wood, and the gum or perfume extracted from it was costly. This was used by the Egyptians for embalming bodies and Nicodemus brought it to anoint the body of Christ.

The other aloe is the plant we are familiar with: called the burn plant since the juice of this succulent heals burns.


Eggs: John 13

Peter claims he would lay down his life for Jesus. But he doesn’t know his own heart – “before the cock crows twice, you’ll disown me three times.”

Chicken eggs are traditionally connected with rebirth, just like Jesus rose from the dead. In the early Christian days eggs were forbidden during Lent. This made them bountiful and exciting forty days later.

One legend says that Mary Magdalen brought a basket of hardboiled eggs to share with the mourners at Jesus tomb, and upon finding it empty the eggs turned red. Another legend says she told the emperor of Rome that Jesus had risen, and he pointed to an egg and said Jesus had no more risen than that egg was red. And the egg turned red. It’s fun to have one Easter egg in the basket that is bright red! You make it with red food coloring.


Christians refer to Jesus as the “Lamb of God,” so it makes sense that the food shows up at the Easter table.

Lamb would have been one of the first fresh meats available after a long winter with no livestock to slaughter.


Hot Cross Buns

These were once reserved for Good Friday alone to honor Jesus dying on the cross. Let the kids pipe the cross on top of the bun.



The ingredients of the anointing oil referred to in Exodus 30:24 included the bark of the cassia tree. This is similar to cinnamon and is valued for its aromatic qualities. The spice was available to the Israelites during the Exodus. It was heavily taxed and used in anointing, so we believe it would have been used to anoint Jesus after His death.


Fitches (Cumin) Isaiah 28:25

When he has leveled its surface, does he not scatter dill, sow cumin (fitches) and put in wheat in rows…..

Many botanists believe this was a poppy or black cumin commonly known in Palestine.


Empty Tomb Buns


Tell the story of both mallow and cinnamon when making these. Fun for kids because the marshmallow melts in the center of the bun, so that when you bite into it, the bun is hollow but coated inside with marshmallow representing Jesus’ resurrection from the tomb.


  • 12 large refrigerated ready-to-bake biscuits (I used Grands)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 12 large marshmallows
  • 1 stick melted butter or margarine


Mix sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Dip each marshmallow into melted margarine, then into sugar cinnamon mixture. Wrap biscuit around each marshmallow pinching bottom TIGHTLY. (If you don’t do this, the marshmallow will pop out during baking).  Dip biscuit into butter then into sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place pinched side down in sprayed muffin cup pan. Bake according to biscuit can directions (if you overbake, the marshmallow pops out!).


An Easter centerpiece that you can eat!

An Easter centerpiece that you can eat!

Extra: Easter Crosses Centerpiece


Make this decoration for your Easter table with the kids and let them eat it for dessert! We make crosses made out of stick pretzels dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with poppy seeds. We make three, one larger than the other two, and stand them up in a bowl of tiny jelly beans.



Rita Heikenfeld.

Rita Heikenfeld.

Rita Nader Heikenfeld writes a weekly syndicated column and blog for the Community Press, appears every Thursday on the Son Rise Morning Show, and is the author of several cookbooks. An adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati, she is Certified Culinary Professional and Certified Modern Herbalist,  the Culinary Professional for Jungle Jim’s Eastgate, and a media personality with a cable show and YouTube videos. In 2014 she was inducted into the Escoffier Hall of Fame. She lives “in the sticks” outside Batavia, Ohio with her family, where they heat with wood, raise chickens for eggs, and grow their own produce and herbs. You’ll find all her previous recipes featured on The Catholic Beat here.

Rita’s Bible Foods segment airs on the Son Rise Morning Show every Thursday morning at 7:22 am (rebroadcast Friday at 6:02 am). Tune in to hear her discuss the history behind each recipe and the scripture verses that inspired it. And of course, for cooking tips!

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