Cardboard bunnies, Easter eggs, little lambs being born, my Mum and aunts discussing what they will give up for Lent and whether Sundays are included in Lent; these things all tell me that Easter is coming. Hot cross buns should be on this list too, since they are a traditional treat eaten during Lent, but they aren’t. This is because hot cross buns are so good that the supermarkets now sell them nearly all year round. The same can’t be said for their inferior Christmas cousin, the mince pie.
On a recent visit to my family home I realised that my Dad often eats a hot cross bun every day. When we stayed with my husband’s parents soon after, my mother in law had bought her favourite hot cross buns especially for us to all enjoy. I usually like to toast mine and then spread it with butter, but these luxury buns were delicious just on their own.
I thought hot cross buns had probably been around for a long time and our friends at Wikipedia agree. Apparently, during the reign of Elizabeth I (1559 – 1603) people were banned from selling them during Lent and so families used to make them themselves. I’m not sure why they were banned. Perhaps because it was felt that Lent isn’t a time when people shouldn’t be eating delicious treats, rather a time for reflection and abstinence? Wikipedia also mentions that it used to be a tradition to hang a hot cross bun in the kitchen to ensure that all the baking turned out well. I might try this! You won’t need a hot cross bun hanging in your kitchen for this recipe – it’s easy, foolproof and, thanks to the supermarkets, now possible all year round.
Bread and butter pudding is a great way of using up stale bread. This recipe can be made with stale hot cross buns, however ours never seem to last that long, so I buy them especially to make this pudding.
8 hot cross buns
100 g / 3 ½ oz butter
400 ml / 13 ½ fl oz milk
50 g / 2 oz sugar
50 g / 2 oz mixed dried fruit
Total carbohydrate per portion (if serving 8) – 43 g
1. Preheat the oven to 190 C / 375 F / Gas mark 5.
2. Using 25 g / 1 oz of the butter, butter an oval large oven dish roughly measuring 30 cm / 12” x 20 / 8” cm.
3. Slice the hot cross buns in half and butter them.
4. Layer them up in the dish.
5. Whisk the eggs up and add in the milk and sugar, stir well.
6. Pour the egg mixture over the hot cross buns and scatter over the dried fruit.
7. Place in the oven for 45 minutes or until the top is lightly brown and crispy.
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