As I was mentioning in my previous post, we had a lot of bread in the pantry, and some have now made it to the fridge. I wanted to use up the hot cross buns as nobody seemed to be eating them after the first day we bought them. The first thing that came to my mind was bread pudding. Quick, easy and makes a great dessert or late night snack. And you can make them with anything. I've tried using plain bread, raisin toast, croissants, pannetone...and they all taste great. And you can throw in any kind of fruit, flavouring, chocolate, butterscotch etc and you can't go wrong. The one I made here has a beautiful creamy and buttery flavour with a hint of spice, and a delightfully sweet and crunchy crust from the demerara sugar crystals and toasted almond flakes.
Hot Cross Pudding
3 large or 6 mini hot cross buns (with fruit/sultanas)
60g butter, melted
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp caster sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Slivered/flaked almonds (optional)
1 tbsp Demerara or raw sugar
Apricot jam or marmalade, gently warmed in the microwave, for glazing (optional)
Grease a 1.8 litre pudding bowl or baking dish with some melted butter. Slice the buns horizontally into half and dip the cut sides into the melted butter. Cut each piece into half diagonally and arrange them in the dish in two layers, with the cross-tops facing up. Drizzle any remaining butter all over the buns.
Whisk the eggs with the sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl until well combined. Set aside.
Place the milk and cream in a saucepan and heat over the stove until it just starts to simmer (bubbles appear around the edge of the pot). Alternatively, you can heat it in the microwave in a microwave-safe container for 1-2 minutes (I just used a pyrex measuring cup). Remove from heat and slowly pour the milk/cream over the egg mixture while whisking the mixture constantly. Pour this mixture over the bread slowly, making sure the bread absorbs the mixture. Press the bread down with a spoon to let it absorb the liquid. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes. Sprinkle the almonds and/or sugar over the top.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 170C (340F). Pop the dish in the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until custard is just set and the tops are puffed up and crispy. Brush the top of the pudding with some jam if desired. Serve warm with or without pouring cream.