This is a recipe that took a little while to stick in my household. Not because it isn’t lovely – it is! – but because it calls for leftover hot cross buns.
Requiring leftover hot cross buns is a little like writing a recipe that uses unicorn tears or dehydrated water: they just don’t exist. In my home, hot cross buns disappear almost as soon as they arrive, leaving nothing in their wake but the scent of mixed spice and smears of melted butter.
But, I subscribe to the waste-not-want-not mentality, and I suspect there are households out there that don’t greedily inhale hot cross buns the moment they cross the threshold. Perhaps when I scour my brain and cookbook shelves for recipes to use up floppy chard or tired-looking dill, there are cooks out there whose bread bins are filled with hot cross buns going stale. I know, I’m not convinced either.
But this pudding is such a treat that I’ve taken to investing in hot cross buns specifically for this purpose. Of course, they then have to be cordoned off with yellow and black hazard tape, lest my husband should get the wrong idea and consume them before I have a chance to make the custard. But assuming they make it that far, this is a totally glorious end for them – and if you have either will power or an excess of buns, this dish will bring back to life any that are starting to stale.
At its heart, this is a bread and butter pudding, with the hot cross buns replacing the bread, and the butter cooked into the sauce. After making a Jamie Oliver panettone-based bread and butter pudding at Christmas, I’ve adopted his trick of adding little spots of marmalade and chocolate (leftover Easter eggs, perhaps? No, me neither) as you build up the layers. The marmalade works well with the citrus in the hot cross buns and the chocolate melts and pools. The vanilla cream soaks into the buns, and as they cook, the base becomes wibbly and custardy, whilst the buns that poke through the top caramelise and are crunchy with demerara sugar.
This would make the perfect Easter day pudding – especially when spring weather has proven itself to be a little temperamental this year! And if you’re looking to make your own hot cross buns, you can find my recipe for them here.
Hot cross bun bread and butter pudding
Makes: Pudding for 4
Takes: 10 minutes
Bakes: 20 minutes
6 hot cross buns
50g salted butter
150ml whole milk
150 ml whole cream
2 large eggs
50g light brown sugar
1 vanilla pod
30g dark or milk chocolate
3 tablespoons seville orange marmalade
½ tablespoon demerara sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Place the milk in a pan on the hob with the butter. Split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add them and the scraped pod to the milk. Heat gently, until the milk is steaming and the butter has melted; remove the vanilla pod.
3. Whisk the eggs and light brown sugar together in a large bowl, until noticeably paler. While still whisking, pour the hot milk mixture onto the eggs.
4. Tear the hot cross buns into six pieces each and place them in the custard mixture, turning them over so they are fully coated. Place a third of the hot cross buns into an oven-safe dish, about eight inches by six inches and dot with three teaspoons of marmalade and a third of the chocolate. Repeat twice more with the remaining hotcross buns, marmalade and chocolate, and then pour over any remaining custard. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar.
5. Bake for 25 minutes until the top is crunchy and golden, but there is still a wobble to the custard.