|Hot Cross Bun Pudding|
Really it is.
I cannot recall a year when spring has been more welcome. I believe we've just experienced our longest winter on record.
But that's behind us now, and Holy Week and Passover are nearly here, marking the spiritual start of warmer weather and brighter, longer days.
I will always connect this season with hot cross buns. I was so lucky to grow up with parents who ate seasonally, and always made sure we had these traditional Lenten rolls on hand to mark the beginning of spring.
Wandering through the grocery store, looking for inspiration, I found some in the bakery. (Each year I vow to make my own, but I never do.) I love bread pudding but have ever made it with hot cross buns. There is, of course, a first time for everything.
Here is my recipe:
- 6 small or 4 large hot cross buns, cut into quarters
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 1/3 cup half-and-half
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- dash sea salt
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Cut the buns into triangles and arrange in a greased baking dish. Place raisins around buns quarters, tucking them inside. Set aside.
In a medium-size bowl, vigorously blend milk, half-and-half, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Poor over buns and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
When most of the liquid has been absorbed by the buns, dab the top with bit of cold butter, sprinkle with a dash of sea salt and place on a middle rack of the oven. Bake for one hour, checking frequently.
When top has turned golden brown and pudding is puffy, removed from oven and allow to cool. Pudding will collapse during the cooling process, which takes about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
I was seeking a pudding that was somewhat bland, something that would have been served in a child's nursery a century ago. I think this recipe achieved that. You could certainly add more dried or candied fruit, currants, cranberries or lemon peel. A healthy dash of cinnamon would be good, too.
In the photo, I used a vintage casserole dish and a hot pad made by my grandmother to evoke another time.