As hot cross buns are only really around once a year, they’re always a bit special. As someone who lives in a household where only two out of five people actually like them, we tend to end up with a few stale buns in the bread box. It’s always a shame to throw those stray buns away, so I’ve come up with a few ideas for reincarnating them into something delicious once more
First up, French toast – a.k.a eggy bread! Always a winner for using up old brioche or challah, so why not hot cross buns? Simply used halved buns in place of the bread slices in this eggy bread recipe for a sweet, spiced brunch.
The brunch theme takes us to something called Bostock – not a particularly appetising name, but trust me, it’s absolutely divine. First, you make a simple orange syrup (below), leave to cool, then dip two or three halved buns into it (depending on how many you have!). Place them cut side up onto a greased baking tray then spread thickly with frangipane (below). Sprinkle on some flaked almonds then bake at 180 °C for 15-20 minutes until golden and caramelised.
To make orange syrup: simmer together 50g of sugar and 125ml of orange juice until the sugar has dissolved.
To make frangipane: cream together 1 egg, 1 tsp almond extract, 2 tbsp flour and 50 g each of: butter, brown sugar and ground almonds.
Hot cross breadcrumbs
If you turn stale buns into breadcrumbs you can use them in myriad desserts, too. To make hot cross bun breadcrumbs, place halved stale buns onto a baking tray and then bake for 10-20 minutes (depending on how stale they already are) at 130 °C until crisp and dry. Either place the dried buns into a sandwich bag and bash with a rolling pin, or blend in a food processor until fine.
Hot cross tart
You can use these spicy, fruity breadcrumbs in the filling for a treacle tart, or even in place of some of the flour/ground nuts in a Bakewell tart.
Bun & butter pudding
The last but obvious recipe is bread and butter pudding (or, in this case, bun and butter!). I like to spread marmalade or apricot jam onto the buttered slices of bun before soaking them in the custard and baking. Classic, and outright heavenly.