What to do with leftover hot cross buns

Spice up your buns: turn them into a choc orange hot cross bun pudding.
Spice up your buns: turn them into a choc orange hot cross bun pudding. Photo: Sofia Levin

As soon as hot cross buns hit supermarket shelves – usually not long after Christmas – we eat them. By the time Easter rolls around like a rogue chocolate egg, the novelty has worn off and you're left with a freezer full of buns. But just as bread can be repurposed for baking, so too can hot cross buns. These three recipes are easy to make and will ensure that not a single hot cross bun goes to waste this year. Serve them at the Easter dining table, a dinner party or pack into school lunches for a sweet treat. 

Choc orange hot cross bun pudding

9 small chocolate hot cross buns (or 6 regular) 

100ml milk

150ml buttermilk

100g butter, melted

125g solid chocolate Easter eggs, halved

50g dark brown sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

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1 tsp ground nutmeg

2 large eggs, beaten

Zest and juice of 1 large orange

1 tsp vanilla paste (or essence)

Vanilla ice cream to serve

Method

1. Preheat oven to 175°C and grease an ovenproof dish large and deep enough to just fit the buns.

2. Cut hot cross buns in half. 

3. Arrange bottom bun slices in dish, evenly spreading half of the Easter eggs over the top.

4. Add the other half of the eggs to a small pan with the milk, buttermilk, butter and sugar. Stir over a low heat until melted, but don't let it boil or it will curdle.

5. Put the eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest and juice in a bowl, then slowly add the chocolate mixture. Whisk until combined.

6. Pour half of the liquid over the buns, then add the bun lids, before spooning the other half of the liquid evenly over the bun tops. Gently push the buns down into the liquid.

7. Set aside for 30 minutes, allowing the buns to soak.

8. Bake for 45 minutes and serve hot with vanilla ice cream.

Serves 8 to 10

Hot cross 'buffins' with vanilla glaze

Hot cross 'buffins' with vanilla glaze.

Hot cross 'buffins' with vanilla glaze. Photo: Sofia Levin

For the 'buffins'

6 hot cross buns

6 large eggs 

2 cups buttermilk 

2 tsp ground cinnamon  

2 tbs dark brown sugar 

1 1/2 tsp vanilla paste (or extract) 

120g mixed dried fruit

50ml tablespoons Grand Marnier 

For the glaze

2 cups icing sugar, sifted

1 tsp vanilla paste (or extract)

4 tsp unsalted butter, melted

6 tbsp boiling water

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 175°C and grease a standard muffin tin.

2. In a small bowl, soak the dried fruit in Grand Marnier and set aside.

3. Tear the hot cross buns into small, 1cm pieces and put in a bowl. Set aside.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, cinnamon, sugar, buttermilk and vanilla, then pour over hot cross bun pieces. 

5. Carefully fold in fruit until combined and leave to absorb for 20 minutes.

6. Divide the mixture evenly in the muffin cups, pressing down lightly to compact.

7. Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly crisp and golden on top.

8. Make the vanilla glaze by mixing the butter, icing sugar and vanilla together, and then gradually stirring in boiling water until the glaze reaches desired consistency.

9. Remove buffins from tin and place on a serving plate.

10. Drizzle glaze over hot cross buffins and serve warm.

Makes 10 to 12

Hot cross bun treacle tart with hot cross bun ice cream

Hot cross bun treacle tart with hot cross bun ice cream.

Hot cross bun treacle tart with hot cross bun ice cream. Photo: Sofia Levin

For the tart

2 hot cross buns

60g butter

400g maple syrup

40g treacle

2 tbsp double cream

1 egg 

1 egg yolk

2 tbsp lemon juice

Zest of 1 orange

2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry

1 tsp sea salt

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground cinnamon

For the ice cream

3 hot cross buns

4 egg yolks

1 cup sugar 

1 cup buttermilk 

3 cups heavy cream

2 tbsp spiced rum

50g mixed dried fruit

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

Zest of 1 orange

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a removable-based tart tin and line evenly with thawed pastry. Prick pastry with a fork and blind bake for five to 10 minutes, or until pastry is almost cooked but not golden.

2. Place dried fruit and spiced rum in a small bowl to soak, set aside.

3. Make fresh hot cross bun breadcrumbs by blending chunks of buns in a food processor, set aside.

4. In a small pan, melt the butter, then stir in syrup and treacle.

5. Stir in cream, then remove from heat and beat in egg, yolk, lemon juice, orange zest, spices and salt.

6. Spread breadcrumbs evenly into the tart base, then evenly pour in syrup mixture.

7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the filling set.

8. Allow to cool slightly, then serve with hot cross bun ice cream.

Serves 8 to 10

Hot cross bun ice cream

1. Make the ice cream a day before or the same morning of the day you plan to serve it. Make fresh hot cross bun breadcrumbs by blending chunks of buns in a food processor, set aside.

2. Whisk yolks and sugar together until it turns creamy and lightens in colour.

3. Heat buttermilk in a pan until simmering and then slowly pour into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. 

4. Return mixture to pan and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly until it lightly coats the back of a wooden spoon, but making sure it never boils. 

5. Remove from heat and stir in zest, dried fruit mixture, vanilla and cinnamon. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the breadcrumbs. Leave to cool completely.

6. Beat cream until soft peaks form, then fold into cooled custard mixture. Pour into Tupperware and freeze until lightly frozen, like semifreddo. If freezing overnight, remove ice cream from freezer for 15 minutes before serving.