Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hot Cross Bun Bread and Butter Pudding for Easter 2012

I have to be honest and admit I am not that big of a fan of Bread and Butter Puddings - I have made them on a number of occasions and have only once really liked the results but this particular Bread and Butter Pudding is a winner - it is soft, pillowy and luscious with an intriguing spicy overtone. I made the Hot Cross Buns from scratch instead of buying them but you could so easily use store bought and take the hardest and most time consuming part out of the equation. I did make Hot Cross Buns about three years ago here on the blog - then they turned out like little bricks - this time I had to make them twice - first time they burnt on the bottom with a specific Hot Cross Bun recipe to remain nameless:
These weren't bad taste wise but they too were a little hard and oh those burnt bun buns!!
Next I tried a sticky bun recipe that has been very successful for me - the bottoms were quite well done but not burnt - yea!!! - and the buns came out very favourful and a nice texture but a totally different texture to when I use this dough for sticky buns apparently so because spice retards and changes the yeast processing - which it most certainly did - here is the second crop of Hot Cross Buns:
So here we go if you want to make your own
HOT CROSS BUNS
This made 9 small buns but you can easily double the recipe if you want more.

FIRST make the 'sponge':
1/2 tablespoon of yeast (I use bulk yeast from the Belfast Coop - if you use packet yeast like Fleischmann's that would be 1 packet)
1/2 teaspoon of honey or maple syrup
3 fluid ounces/80mls warm milk - warm almost hot to the touch

Mix these 3 ingredients in a small warm bowl and leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes until thick, bubbly and creamy as below:
FOR THE DOUGH:
8oz/250g plain flour
1 large egg well beaten
1oz/28g sugar
2oz/50g softened butter - always Kate's for me!!
1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice - I actually used garam masala which is a delicious Indian spice I have started using in raisiny recipes after reading that Deeba at Passionate About Baking used it in her Christmas cakes - it is delicious!
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg - I LOVE nutmeg

1.Sieve flour into a large mixing bowl, add sugar and stir in, add spices and stir in.
2. Make a well in the middle of the mix and pour in the warm yeasten mix:
 3. Add beaten egg and softened butter also and mix well together.
4. When the mix has come together put onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
5. Put dough ball into a clean bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and place in a toasty warm spot for about 1 1/2 hours until the ball has doubled in size - this is hard to judge but if your room is warm (70Fish) it should be just right at 1 1/2 hours:
IN THE LAST 10 MINUTES OR SO OF THE DOUGH RISING make the crosses - do not make them any earlier as they will dry out and be hard to use (yes I did this and they didn't work well):
Put 4 fluid ounces/125mls of cold water into a small bowl - add a big tablespoon of flour, mix, add another tablespoon and mix and continue until maybe four when the paste should be nice and thick - turn it onto a smooth surface and work a little with more flour until you get a nice smooth dough - roll out to a rectangle about 4 x 10" and then cut this into 18 strips - 2 for each bun:
Now uncover your dough and tear into about 9 even pieces and roll into balls and place evenly spaced on two buttered baking sheets - I think part of my problem with burning the first batch was not only the recipe but I used a dark baking sheet so with the second batch I covered it in foil and I think that helped lack of burnt bottoms.
Place two pieces of the dough in a cross on the tops and push them down a little to hold them in place, cover them with clean tea towels and put back in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes - now preheat your oven to 350F/180C.

Bob your buns in the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes until browned on the top - mine stayed kind of blond and I decided to take them out at 35 which was a good decision.

Whilst they are baking put 4 fluid ounces/125mls of water and 2 ounces/50g sugar together in a pan with 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice (or garam masala) and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and warm until it bubbles and gets somewhat thick. Take off the heat and wait for the buns to come out of the oven.

When you take the buns out leave them to cool for about 5 minutes and then brush the sugar/spice syrup over them. Allow buns to cool and save 5 of them to make the pudding - eat the rest cut in half and slathered with butter with a nice cup of tea.

FOR THE PUDDING: 
5 Hot Cross Buns
4oz butter softened
2oz/50g dark chocolate - chips or slab chopped
2oz/50g currants

For the custard:
8 fluid ounces/250ml whole milk
3 fluid ounces/100ml heavy/double cream
3 oz/75g sugar
4 egg yolks from gorgeous Farmetta Farm eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract/essence

1. Pre heat oven to 300F/150C
2. Cut Hot Cross Buns laterally into halves - or I did thirds so I could get more butter in the pudding - butter one surface of each piece.
3. Arrange half of the slices overlapping in the bottom of a glass dish about 20cm/8" square.
4. Sprinkle with half of the currants and chocolate chips.
5. Arrange remaining slices over and sprinkle with the rest of the currants and chocolate chips.
6. I dotted some more pieces of butter over the top.

NOW MAKE THE CUSTARD:
1. Heat milk and cream together in a pot until just about to boil.
2. Stir in vanilla and allow to cool slightly.
3. Whisk egg yolks with sugar.
4. Slowly drizzle the hottish milk into the egg yolks and sugar and whisk all the time so the eggs don't curdle.
5. Return all of mix to the pan and cook on low heat until slightly thickned - stir all the time.
6. Take off the heat, allow to cool slightly then pour over the arranged Hot Cross Buns and allow to soak a little - press down until the custard is soaking in.

7. Put the glass dish into a larger metal pan - pour in hot water up to half the height of the glass dish and the put into the oven to bake for about 35 minutes.
 Take out of the oven et voila - a delicious creamy, yummy soft and pillowly dessert for this years Easter Festivities - I have to admit I wasn't sure about the addition of the chocolate but it really adds a nice richness and after all isn't Easter all bout chocolate??.

Happy Baking - let me know how you do - Patricia
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