I wanted to make this last Easter but things were too busy with my book production back then. Although you can get hot cross buns all year round, it just feels like this recipe is most appropriate around the holiday.
The orange and the chocolate totally make the dish in my
humble opinion. The chocolate melts into the custard making it more decadent and luxurious. My suggestion is to buy the best you can afford and not to consider leaving it out.
I was very lucky because yesterday a parcel arrived from a friend in Switzerland. He had packed a wide selection of fine Swiss chocolate for me, and of brands that were unlikely to be found in South Africa. 50 grams of the 72% Frey Noir Special went into the recipe and it was delicious.
Thank you Christian for my very special treat.
Recipe | makes 1 large desert | feeds 6 – 8
- 500 ml cream
- 300 ml milk
- 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds removed (use 1 t of vanilla extract as a substitute)
- 160gm sugar
- 4 whole free-range eggs
- zest of 1 orange
- a good splash of fine brandy (optional) up to 1/4 of a cup / 4 T
- 6- 8 hot cross buns
- 50gm of chocolate (70%) chopped
Put the cream, milk and vanilla bean (with split pod) into a large pot and bring it to the boil. *note – you will need a large pot as things get quite bubbly later on.
While that is heating, using an electric mixer beat the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy. They should double in volume.
When the cream milk has just reached the boil, remove the pod and slowly add the egg mixture while whisking continuously over a low heat. Continue to whisk for a 10 minutes minutes until it just starts to thicken. Add the orange zest and the brandy.
Cut the hot cross bun into 3 slices. In a large enough baking dish (about 1.5 litre capacity) pour about half of the sauce. Place the bottom 1/3 slice along the bottom of the dish and dunk it under the sauce, making sure it is well soaked. Sprinkle over the chocolate pieces. Then take the middle 1/3 slices of hot cross bun and tear these up into shards / chunks. I find this a more effective way for the custard to absorb. Pat these down on top of the chocolate. Pour over the rest of the custard, and place the top pieces of hot cross bun over and submerge allowing the top bits to be visible on the surface.
Leave this to stand for at least half an hour so that the custard is absorbed into the HC bun. You could also make this several hours in advance (say the morning), and keep it in the fridge until needed. Just bring it to room temperature before you bake.
Place the pudding into another baking tray with high sides and fill this with hot water to about half way up the pudding dish. You are essentially baking this in a water bath/ bain marie. This is a better way to bake custard desserts.
Bake in a preheated oven of 180C for 45 minutes – an hour until the custard has set. If you find that the tops are getting a bit too brown, loosely cover with a piece of tinfoil about halfway through the baking time. This all really depends on your oven. I have to say that with most of my baking, I always cover the tops as I don’t like the look of over browned food.
The pudding should be firm with a little wobble in the middle. Allow it to stand for 10 – 15 minutes before serving.
Dust with icing sugar.
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