'Traditional Style' Fruit Hot Cross Buns with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Cross


 
'Traditional Style' Fruit Hot Cross Buns with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Cross. Soft, fluffy, spiced buns are filled with raisins and currants soaked in earl grey tea, before being shaped into buns, and finished off with a vanilla bean pastry cream cross, which is a total game changer. These are an elevated version of the traditional hot cross buns, and will be your new go to Easter baking treat. #hotcrossbuns #pastrycreamcross #fruithotcrossbuns
'Traditional Style' Fruit Hot Cross Buns with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Cross. Soft, fluffy, spiced buns are filled with raisins and currants soaked in earl grey tea, before being shaped into buns, and finished off with a vanilla bean pastry cream cross, which is a total game changer. These are an elevated version of the traditional hot cross buns, and will be your new go to Easter baking treat. #hotcrossbuns #pastrycreamcross #fruithotcrossbuns
'Traditional Style' Fruit Hot Cross Buns with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Cross. Soft, fluffy, spiced buns are filled with raisins and currants soaked in earl grey tea, before being shaped into buns, and finished off with a vanilla bean pastry cream cross, which is a total game changer. These are an elevated version of the traditional hot cross buns, and will be your new go to Easter baking treat. #hotcrossbuns #pastrycreamcross #fruithotcrossbuns
'Traditional Style' Fruit Hot Cross Buns with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Cross. Soft, fluffy, spiced buns are filled with raisins and currants soaked in earl grey tea, before being shaped into buns, and finished off with a vanilla bean pastry cream cross, which is a total game changer. These are an elevated version of the traditional hot cross buns, and will be your new go to Easter baking treat. #hotcrossbuns #pastrycreamcross #fruithotcrossbuns
'Traditional Style' Fruit Hot Cross Buns with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Cross. Soft, fluffy, spiced buns are filled with raisins and currants soaked in earl grey tea, before being shaped into buns, and finished off with a vanilla bean pastry cream cross, which is a total game changer. These are an elevated version of the traditional hot cross buns, and will be your new go to Easter baking treat. #hotcrossbuns #pastrycreamcross #fruithotcrossbuns
'Traditional Style' Fruit Hot Cross Buns with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Cross. Soft, fluffy, spiced buns are filled with raisins and currants soaked in earl grey tea, before being shaped into buns, and finished off with a vanilla bean pastry cream cross, which is a total game changer. These are an elevated version of the traditional hot cross buns, and will be your new go to Easter baking treat. #hotcrossbuns #pastrycreamcross #fruithotcrossbuns
'Traditional Style' Fruit Hot Cross Buns with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Cross. Soft, fluffy, spiced buns are filled with raisins and currants soaked in earl grey tea, before being shaped into buns, and finished off with a vanilla bean pastry cream cross, which is a total game changer. These are an elevated version of the traditional hot cross buns, and will be your new go to Easter baking treat. #hotcrossbuns #pastrycreamcross #fruithotcrossbuns
'Traditional Style' Fruit Hot Cross Buns with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Cross. Soft, fluffy, spiced buns are filled with raisins and currants soaked in earl grey tea, before being shaped into buns, and finished off with a vanilla bean pastry cream cross, which is a total game changer. These are an elevated version of the traditional hot cross buns, and will be your new go to Easter baking treat. #hotcrossbuns #pastrycreamcross #fruithotcrossbuns
'Traditional Style' Fruit Hot Cross Buns with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Cross. Soft, fluffy, spiced buns are filled with raisins and currants soaked in earl grey tea, before being shaped into buns, and finished off with a vanilla bean pastry cream cross, which is a total game changer. These are an elevated version of the traditional hot cross buns, and will be your new go to Easter baking treat. #hotcrossbuns #pastrycreamcross #fruithotcrossbuns
'Traditional Style' Fruit Hot Cross Buns with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Cross. Soft, fluffy, spiced buns are filled with raisins and currants soaked in earl grey tea, before being shaped into buns, and finished off with a vanilla bean pastry cream cross, which is a total game changer. These are an elevated version of the traditional hot cross buns, and will be your new go to Easter baking treat. #hotcrossbuns #pastrycreamcross #fruithotcrossbuns

Hi! I’m just popping in super quick to drop this recipe here in time for the lead up to Easter! I was obsessed with how the Dark Chocolate Cardamom Hot Cross Buns turned out, so I wanted to develop a recipe for a more traditional fruit recipe too, just so that we have some options, you know? I’m equally as obsessed with these ones as am the chocolate ones, so would have a really hard time deciding between them!

I riffed on the chocolate recipe - the dough is perfect and soft, so I ditched the cocoa, and heavily spiced the dough. In New Zealand, we use a mixed spice blend (as opposed to allspice which is actually a spice of its own) that you can buy in the supermarket. I haven’t seen anything like it here, so I came up with my own mix of spices, which I actually prefer a little more, as I was able to control the ratio of spices within the dough a little more easily. I went for a big hit of the regular suspects - cinnamon and nutmeg, then rounded it out with some ground ginger, cardamom, cloves, allspice, and coriander. If you don’t have all of these spices, feel free to sub one for another, but I would make sure to include the cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice in there if you can!

I also snuck in an additional step - soaking the fruit before incorporating it into the dough. For this recipe, I soaked the dried raisins and currants in some strong Earl Grey tea, which helped to soften them and hydrate them so that they weren’t chewy in the dough. You can’t taste the tea in the finished product, but it just adds another dimension of flavour. Because the dough is quite soft, and the fruit is also quite soft, I prefer to incorporate it by hand once the dough has finished rising, in order to avoid it all getting squished along the edges of the bowl. I shaped these into 20, rather than the 12 buns I did with the chocolate version. This gave me slightly smaller buns, which I arranged 4x5 on a lined baking sheet - either works perfectly, so you can choose your size depending on what you are feeling!

I then finished them off with what I now consider the only way to do a cross on a hot cross bun - with a custard cross. I followed Ima’s lead, scoring the dough before it went into the oven, and then piping the crosses on once they had had 20 minutes in the oven, which makes the scored lines open up, giving you perfect wee gaps in which to put the pastry cream. Once the buns are fully baked, I brushed them with a vanilla bean syrup, to give them a perfectly shiny finish. Whether you make these or the chocolate ones, you’re going to have a great time. Happy Easter Baking! xx

A few wee tips:

  • I made these buns into 20 - arranged 4 across and 5 down. If you would like them slightly larger, follow shaping instructions for the dark chocolate cardamom buns.

  • I like to make the pastry cream while the dough is doing its first rise, then place it into a piping bag with a clip both above the tip and above the pastry cream, then cool it directly in the piping bag which helps to prevent a skin from forming

  • I did these all in one day, but the first rise can absolutely be done overnight in the fridge if you wanted to have them first thing in the morning - the second rise post shaping may take a little longer.

  • The dough for these will seem a little softer than you are used to - I jammed a whole lot of milk and butter into them, which makes for the most lush, soft bun. Just trust me on this one - it makes it easy to roll them too!

  • I kneaded the fruit in by hand toward the end. It will feel really weird and wet squishy to start off with, but just keep kneading and incorporating - you can add a teeny bit of flour to the surface if you need, but it will all eventually incorporate. I like to pat the dough into a rectangle, scatter the fruit over the top, then kind of fold it up into a package and start kneading from there.

  • If you don’t like Earl Grey Tea (you can’t really taste it, but some people just don’t like it), you can soak the fruit in some warmed orange juice, or strong black tea. They would be good soaked in chai too!

 

 

'Traditional Style' Fruit Hot Cross Buns with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Cross

- Makes 20 buns -

Pastry cream cross adapted from Ima

Bun Dough
300g strongly brewed earl grey tea (see notes)
200g raisins, golden raisins, or sultanas
50g dried currants
340g whole milk, lukewarm
120g sugar, divided
3 tsp active dry yeast
590g all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Cross
40g corn starch
85g sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
400g whole milk
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Vanilla Bean Syrup
60g water
50g Sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
tiny pinch of salt

 

- PROCESS -

BUN DOUGH

Place the raisins and currants in a medium bowl, and cover with the hot Earl Grey tea. Leave to soak for 30 minutes, then drain thoroughly - I like to transfer them to a sieve and leave them to drain while I make the dough.

Place the lukewarm milk, 15g of the sugar, and the yeast in a medium sized bowl, and stir to combine. Leave for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, place the remaining 105g sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cloves, cardamom, and coriander, and mix well to combine.

Add the milk mixture and vanilla bean paste to the dry ingredients, and mix on low for 2-3 minutes. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes. Add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is incorporated until adding the next piece. Mix for a further 7-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and soft. 

Turn out the dough onto a work surface (I do not find that there is a need to flour, but add some if needed), and knead in the fruit by hand (see notes). It will take longer than you expect but the fruit will eventually incorporate into the dough.

Shape the dough into a ball, and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or place in the fridge overnight. While the dough is proofing, make the pastry cream.

 

VANILLA BEAN PASTRY CREAM

In a medium bowl, whisk together the corn starch and sugar. Add the eggs, salt, and vanilla bean paste, and whisk well to combine.

In a medium saucepan, place the milk over a low heat until just shy of a simmer.

Whisking constantly, pour about half of the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture. Whisk until smooth, then add back into the saucepan. Whisking constantly, cook until thick. Add the butter and whisk to combine.

Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round piping tip, and a clip just above the tip to prevent any leakage. Twist the piping bag closed, or secure with another clip, and store in the fridge until needed.

ASSEMBLY

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, and weigh the dough. Divide the weight of the dough by 20, and divide the dough into 20 equal sized pieces. Roll each tightly into a ball, then arrange evenly on the baking sheet, in a 4 by 5 arrangement, leaving a little space between - don’t space them too far apart if you want them to join together in the oven to give the ‘classic’ hot cross bun look.

Lightly cover the pan with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place for about 45 minutes, or until puffy and the dough springs back when lightly pressed with a finger.

Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Using a sharp paring knife or razor blade, score crosses in the buns.

Bake the buns for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and pipe the pastry cream in crosses in the holes provided by the scoring.

Return the buns to the oven and bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes, or until the buns are lightly golden brown, or until they register 200°f / 90°c on an instant read thermometer. While the buns are baking, prepare the sugar syrup.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool, before brushing on the sugar syrup (recipe below).

SUGAR SYRUP

Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes, then leave to stand until ready to use.

Store leftover buns in an airtight container at room temperature. Reheat in the microwave briefly before eating. Serve with butter.


'Traditional Style' Fruit Hot Cross Buns with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Cross. Soft, fluffy, spiced buns are filled with raisins and currants soaked in earl grey tea, before being shaped into buns, and finished off with a vanilla bean pastry cream cross, which is a total game changer. These are an elevated version of the traditional hot cross buns, and will be your new go to Easter baking treat. #hotcrossbuns #pastrycreamcross #fruithotcrossbuns

Hot Cross Buns


 
Vanilla Bean Glazed Hot Cross buns - fruity and spicy, with a choux pastry cross. Glazed with a vanilla bean glaze for a sweet, flavoursome finish. Perfect Easter baking treat.
Vanilla Bean Glazed Hot Cross buns - fruity and spicy, with a choux pastry cross. Glazed with a vanilla bean glaze for a sweet, flavoursome finish. Perfect Easter baking treat.
Vanilla Bean Glazed Hot Cross buns - fruity and spicy, with a choux pastry cross. Glazed with a vanilla bean glaze for a sweet, flavoursome finish. Perfect Easter baking treat.

It's almost Easter! Which means that, by default, the weather is obliged to sort its shit out and give us something that resembles spring. It also means allll of the easter foods! In America I have learnt that this means marshmallow peeps, cadbury mini eggs, and colouring actual chicken eggs (feel free to correct me if i'm wrong here, i'm just going off what I've seen!). In New Zealand, it is all chocolate eggs of all kinds, chocolate bunnies, and hot cross buns! Hot cross buns are the taste of most people's childhood back home. I also have grand plans to put together some sort of easter box - I have loads of easter egg moulds, so watch this space. It's likely to get messy.

There are loads of different variations - they are sometimes done with chocolate, or with mixed fruit. I prefer the ones without the mixed peel in them, so have left it out for this recipe too, but go for it an add it in if you want! These can be made in a morning - the proof time is about two hours total, so perfect for morning tea, or a late breakfast. They are also awesome the next day for breakfast, warmed up in the microwave and loaded up with butter. 

Big ups to my friend Lisa for letting me snake her pastry school recipe - the measurements for this recipe are in grams, which I honestly prefer. If you haven't gotten one already, a scale is probably one of the best $30 investments you can make in your kitchen. I halved the original recipe, so if you wanted extra bunz, by all mean double it!

The crosses for these are a choux pastry. I probably didn't thin mine out enough so they didn't turn out quite as well as they could have, so make sure they are a nice pipeable consistency! 

Ps: I had issues finding both sultanas and mixed spice here in NYC, so used flamed raisins in the place of sultanas, and made my own mixed spice using this recipe (I omitted the mace). 

 

 

Hot Cross Buns
- Makes 8 buns -

Buns
360g (2 1/2 cups) bread flour
40g (3 Tbsp) sugar
22g (2 Tbsp) active dry yeast
90g (90ml) lukewarm water
90g (90ml) lukewarm milk
7g (1/2 tsp) salt
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
100g Raisins or Sultanas
45g dried currants

Crosses
50g (50ml) water
20g unsalted butter
pinch salt
pinch sugar
30g all-purpose flour
Enough milk to mix to a pipeable consistency. 

Simple Syrup
1/4 cup (60ml) water
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (optional)
 

- PROCESS -

BUNS

In a medium bowl, combine milk, water, 2 Tbsp sugar and yeast. Stir well, and leave for 5 minutes until foamy. 

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, or in a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, spices, and the remaining 1 Tbsp of sugar. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes. Add the yeast mixture, and mix on low for 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl and hook as required. Add the butter, and mix for a further 10 minutes on low, until the dough is soft and smooth. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead the fruit in by hand. 

Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draught-free place until the dough has doubled in size, approximately 1 hour. 

Knock back the dough, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. (I weigh the dough, and then divide the total weight by 8). Roll into balls, and arrange in a lightly greased baking dish, leaving a little room between each. If I am using a rectangular dish I tend to make 8 rolls, whereas if I am using a square tin I generally make 9. Lightly cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place for approximately an hour, until almost doubled in size, and the dough springs back slightly when poked with your finger. 

Preheat the oven to 220˚c / 430˚f. Pipe crosses onto the buns. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden. While the buns are baking, combine the water, sugar, and vanilla bean paste if using in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Using a pastry brush, glaze the buns with the syrup immediately after removing from the oven. 

CROSSES

In a small saucepan, heat the water, salt, sugar, and butter until it comes to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the flour, and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and coming away from the edges. Add milk a tablespoon at a time until it reaches a pipeable consistency. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip, or a ziplock bag with the corner cut off. 

Blackcurrant Smoothie Bowl


 

Ok. I'm doing it. I'm jumping on the Smoothie bowl train. We have been eating these for a  year or so now, I just have never gotten around to sharing the recipe! For those who are new to the idea of a smoothie bowl - it's just a slightly thicker smoothie in a bowl, with toppings. And it's the best. Not just because it's an excellent excuse to eat heaps of peanut butter, but it's an awesome way to switch up the breakfast situation if you are getting tired of a regular smoothie. Eating it out of a bowl feels so much more exciting. Maybe that's just me.  It's also a really good way of making sure you get a really good nutritious start to your day - you can load up the bowl with berries, seeds and nuts, which I find really help to keep me full. 

I like going with the same base every time for the bowl, and then switching up the toppings. For this recipe I use greek yogurt. If you were wanting to keep it vegan, sub in an extra half a banana, or use coconut yoghurt. I also tend to use homemade almond milk - you can find a recipe for it here. Feel free to also use any other milk, dairy or non-dairy (almond is just what I have on hand most often).

Top this with whatever you would like! I generally top it with lines of coconut, chia, hemp seeds and cacao, and then add in some peanut butter. It is also amazing with granola. For this bowl, I used small cookie cutters to cut out shapes from fruit, which would be perfect for kids (or adults!).

This smoothie bowl in particular is jazzed up with something a little special! I have used Sujon Blackcurrant powder as a little addition. Sujon is a family-run company from my hometown back in New Zealand. Not only is it run by a lovely family, they have some incredible products. I worked there during the summer of my University holidays, packing frozen fruit, and blast freezing boysenberries and blackcurrants during the season.

I have been using this powder myself for a few years now, and I love it. It is made by freeze-drying and crushing blackcurrants. Approximately 7kg of berries go into producing 1kg of the powder, which means that all the beneficial properties (antioxidants, flavonoids, all those good things) of blackcurrants are hugely concentrated. It also does AMAZING things for muscle recovery. A teaspoon of powder, either in a smoothie or smoothie bowl, or just stirred into a glass of water, helps hugely with muscle repair and recovery, and the removal of lactic acid via vasodilation of blood cells. And it works. There has been a huge amount of research done on blackcurrants as the next superfood. If you want some hard science, you can check it here and here! I can tell you from personal experience - this stuff is the best. AND they ship internationally for free! Trust me on this one. You want to try this. 

And so, I would love to share it with you! Sujon is very generously giving away two prize packs - each consisting of a 180g package of powder, and a container of blackcurrant powder capsules, which are a newer product, perfect for those who prefer to take things in pill form. All you have to do is make sure that you are following both myself and Sujon on Instagram, and then leave a comment below telling me your favourite smoothie flavours! Make sure you mention your instagram name in the comment too. Competition is open worldwide, and closes at midnight on Sunday the 9th of April, at midnight Eastern Standard Time. 

 

 

Blackcurrant Smoothie Bowl
- Serves 2 - 


2 Frozen Bananas
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup (120ml) greek yoghurt
2 Tbsp Sujon Blackcurrant powder
1/2 cup (120ml) almond milk
Your choice of toppings - I like chia seed, hemp hearts, cacao nibs, coconut, and peanut butter, but feel free to add whatever you like!


- PROCESS -

Add all of the ingredients, except the toppings, to a high-powered blender. Blend on low, stopping and scraping down the sides as necessary, or using the tamper of your blender if possible. Once the smoothie has begun to combine, increase the speed to medium high, and blend until smooth. 

Divide the smoothie between serving bowls, and top with desired toppings. Serve immediately. 

Thank you so much to Sujon Berries for providing the powder used in this recipe! All opinions are my own.