You know it’s Easter when you’re tucking into a buttered sweet bun, but this year we have some alternative suggestions for your seasonal bread.
Easter 2013 saw hot cross buns take the top spot in our list of most popular recipes, which pleases us as we’re big fans of them too. The provenance of the traditional spiced bread is up for debate, but they were first referenced in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1733. That’s almost three centuries of bun-making lineage, so we think it’s time for a shake-up. We’ve created eight ways to flip the hot cross bun on its head.
Eight new ways with hot cross buns
Traditionalists look away now – we’ve replaced the raisins and mixed peel of sweet hot cross buns with cheddar and Parmesan cheese. Serve this remixed recipe with hot soup. You could try other cheeses too – Red Leicester would work as a topping instead of cheddar, and if you want to go all-out British, swap the Parmesan for Lincolnshire Poacher.
Our favourite thing about these hot cross bun-shaped sponges is that the traditional cross is made from spiced buttercream frosting. The novelty factor would make them a nice addition to a childrens' Easter party spread.
If you’re following a gluten-free diet, try these buns that have been adapted for use with alternative flour. As a result, they’re not as airy as the traditional variety, and have a texture similar to a rock bun or scone. Our home economist says it's important to use gluten-free bread flour and not gluten-free regular plain flour – it makes all the difference in the texture stakes.
If you’re not comfortable kneading bread dough, these cookies should suit you a little better. The cross is made from melted white chocolate – you can’t get much simpler than that.
If you’re in the anti-raisin camp, omit them from your Easter buns and replace with the safer option of chocolate chips. This recipe has been written with young cooks in mind, so if you’re looking to keep children busy over the Easter break, the lure of warm chocolate bread should have them reaching for the mini apron.
The puritanical side of us advocates nothing more than a generous daubing of butter on a hot cross bun, but we’d compromise for a flavoured butter. Our decorative wreath is served with spiced honey butter with cinnamon and ginger, but golden syrup, treacle, maple syrup or agave would work just as well as a sweetening agent. When it comes to spice, we’d choose nutmeg, saffron or cardamom.
If you’ve gone overboard with your quantities and have a surplus of buns about to go stale, use them up in an economical recipe. This zesty bake is a spring-friendly spin on the traditional bread and butter pudding – serve to round off an Easter Sunday lunch.
Any kind of bread can be used for French toast, and hot cross buns are no exception. Start the long weekend with this breakfast recipe. Serve with mugs of hot coffee, a pile of newspapers and the satisfying sense of bank holiday relaxation.
If you prefer a classic approach to your Easter buns, this traditional recipe from Paul Hollywood is the highest rated on our site. You’ll find additional seasonal baking recipes and much more on our Easter page.