Recipes: Hot cross buns with a twist

Use a cookie cutter to cut out discs of ice-cream for hot cross bun ice-cream sandwiches.
Use a cookie cutter to cut out discs of ice-cream for hot cross bun ice-cream sandwiches. Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen

Hot cross bun ice-cream sandwiches

It almost seems counter-intuitive to make an ice-cream sandwiches with a toasted hot cross buns, but the caramelised crisp butter and sugar surface of the bun contrast so well with the ice-cream, and the delight on faces at with just the mere mention of this concoction is worth it.

1kg vanilla ice-cream

6 quality hot cross buns

Orange butter cream

60g butter

Hot cross bun ice-cream sandwiches.
Hot cross bun ice-cream sandwiches. Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen

1 tbsp sugar

½ tsp grated orange zest

1. First press the vanilla ice-cream onto a tray about 1 centimetre thick and freeze overnight or until firm.

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2. Split the hot cross buns and spread both cut sides with some sweet orange butter (made by mixing the butter with the sugar and orange zest). Grill the buttered side until toasted, about eight minutes. Allow to cool.

3. Use a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass with a diameter similar to your bun and cut out discs of ice-cream. Sandwich the buns together with the ice-cream and serve immediately.

Chocolate cranberry hot cross bun loaf

We have many fans of our chocolate bread. One of our customers once made some chocolate bread-and-butter puddings,flavoured with Cointreau custard, for the staff at my bakery in Armadale. Sometimes we make this with candied orange pieces, and sometimes with sour cherries. The tartness of the cranberries balances the intensity of the chocolate. Use the best ingredients you can afford. This will make three large loaves, so you can give one or two to your neighbours. It makes a wicked french toast.

Chocolate cranberry hot cross bun loaf.
Chocolate cranberry hot cross bun loaf. Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen

900g bread flour 

100g rye flour

100g Dutch cocoa powder

Apple hot cross bun Brown Betty.
Apple hot cross bun Brown Betty. Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen

100g castor sugar

100g unsalted butter, room temperature

20g salt

2 tsp dried yeast 

700ml water

300g dark couverture chocolate (chopped or buttons)

300g dried cranberries 

1. Place all the ingredients, apart from the chocolate and the cranberries, into the bowl of a mixer and blend together on a low speed. Increase mixer to the next speed and blend until a dough develops and comes away from the sides of the bowl quite cleanly.

2. Rest the dough for five minutes before adding the cranberries and chocolate. Blend until evenly mixed through.

3. Prove the dough for two hours or until it almost doubles in size. Knock back and divide into three, and mould into balls, dust lightly with flour, and prove again until the balls double in size. Cut a cross on the top using a razor blade and bake without steam in the oven for 30 minutes at 210C in a conventional oven.

4. Remove and allow to cool before slicing and serving with unsalted cultured butter, ricotta or fresh goat's cheese.

Apple hot cross bun Brown Betty

This recipe is based on Sally Clarke's Apple Brown Betty. I think the flavour is much improved with the use of the spicy hot cross bun for the breadcrumbs, not to mention the cute crisp discs with the cross, which is a bit like a biscuit to complete the presentation. 

1.5kg apples

1 cinnamon stick

6 hot cross buns

60g butter

50g brown sugar

cream whipped with cinnamon, to serve

1. Peel, core and slice the apples, and cook gently with a little water and the cinnamon stick, until it becomes a smooth, thick puree. Sweeten with a little sugar to taste.

2. Cut the hot cross buns in half. Cut a small disc from the top of each bun to capture the cross.

3. Spread the cut surfaces of the discs with butter, sprinkle them with a little sugar and grill butter side up for about eight minutes, until they are golden around the edges.

4. Blend the remainder of the bun tops to a course crumb. (Keep the remaining bun bases for toasting.) 

5. Melt the butter, add the bun crumbs and stir continuously over a medium to high heat  until toasted, crisp and fragrant. Remove from the heat and add the brown sugar.

6. To serve, spoon some warm apple puree into  bowls, liberally sprinkle with the  bun crumbs, and finish with the toasted crossed bun top. Serve with a bowl of sweetened cinnamon whipped pure cream.