Easter’s a-coming; Hot Cross Bread and Butter Pudding
Now that’s a mouthful of a recipe name, no?
Easter is big in the O’Neill family. And I mean big. Village-wide treasure hunts, quizzes, arty activities, egg hunts, highly competitive teams and an actual cup you get your name engraved on if you win. No joke, it’s like Christmas part II in this clan. My granddad started it; he loved Easter, loved getting the family together and loved doing things to trick and challenge us ( a real wind-up merchant if ever there was one). He was one smart cookie but, most of all, he liked ruling the roost; head of the family, game’s master and all round patriarch. Sadly he passed away just over five years ago, and whilst I still find this a little difficult to reconcile with (this huge vibrant figure in my life, who still enters my thoughts on a daily basis not being here any more is bizarre and alien), this is one of his legacies that still lives on and is one I hope will continue with the next generation too – that’s down to me and the cousins, heaven help us/anyone in the vicinity!
Now, Easter isn’t all just out-doing last years winners (although that’s pretty darn important, I don’t think I’ve been on a winning team for about three years now…), it’s also the glorious time when lent finishes (hurrah for Haribo entering my life once more!) and when chocolate is happily consumed by all. Oh, and a whole lot of heavier, more religious ongoings too but I don’t tend to delve too far into that. To me, at least, Easter means family, fun and food. Three great F’s. I’ve developed a couple of Easter-themed recipes in celebration this year and this is the first I’m going to share with you. It’s a great twist on two very traditional British dishes and would be an excellent dessert on Easter Sunday (or any Sunday really. Recipes aren’t just for Easter, you know.). It’s warm and fruity and sweet and chocolaty and custardy and…well, nice. Lots and lots of tasty niceness.
How do you celebrate Easter?
9 hot crossed buns
A wee bit of unsalted butter
2 tbsp cinnamon
75g dried cranberries
3 tbsp orange liqueur (totally optional)
100g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids, just to satisfy the chocolate snob within me)
2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Grated rind of 1 orange
4 tbsp caster sugar
500ml whole milk
80ml double cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
The night, or a few hours, before seep the dried cranberries in the orange liqueur.
Cut your hot crossed buns in half and butter the top side of the bottom, plain slice and put a thin sheen of butter on to the top of the bun (over the cross adorned side!).
Break up your chocolate into nice chunks.
Layer up the buns in your baking tray, butter side up. In between each layer sprinkle a healthy amount of cinnamon, cranberries, chocolate and orange zest. Try to make sure the chocolate isn’t peaking out too much as you don’t want it to burn, you just want it to melt. As you’re layering make sure to keep the crosses on the buns visible, as shown in the pictures above.
Custard time; heat the milk and cream together with the vanilla on the hob until warm – no boiling, burnt, scalded dairy here. In a separate jug beat your eggs and 3 tbsp sugar together until nicely combined and pale yellow colour. Add the milk and cream to the eggs, beating a little on the ferocious side, until nicely combined. Pour over your nicely layered and prepped hot cross buns then sprinkle on a little orange rind, nutmeg and the remaining tablespoon of sugar.
Leave for a hour or so before before putting in the oven for forty-five minutes (preheated, 180) and take out when nice, risen and golden brown. Serve with fresh cream, custard or ice cream and enjoy!
My lovely granddad.