'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

The Ultimate Easter Macaron Box


 
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!

I am so, SO excited for Easter baking season. I think it might be my actual favourite - I spent today making dark chocolate cardamom hot cross buns and a carrot cake sheet cake, but I still have a bunch more recipes lined up that I can’t wait to share with you!

Jase and I couldn’t let the best baking season go by without a macaron box, and I think we really knocked it out of the park this time. We brought back our first mac recipe we shared - the creme egg mac, and then filled the box with a whole bunch of other Easter inspired flavours. I am totally obsessed with how this box came out, and I hope that you give some of the recipes a try! I am particularly excited by how the chocolate peanut butter and peeps macarons came out - this was our first time piping marshmallow into macarons, and I certainly don’t think that it will be our last.

We’ve come full circle with our macaron recipes - this is the 13th that we have shared! It was so fun to see how much we have learnt along the way, and it’s super satisfying to see how consistently we can make macs now. It goes to show that to get good at something, practice is really the best way to master a skill. Trial and error, and working out what works and what doesn’t work for you seems to be the best way. Everyone works out their own wee way of making things. This way works best for us, and has worked for a bunch of others, but it may require some wee tweaks to get it to suit you- don’t be afraid to play around and see what is best! xx

Here’s what we ended up with:

  • Creme Egg Macarons - Speckled shell filled with a Creme Egg chocolate ganache

  • Hot Cross Bun Macaron - Vanilla bean shell filled with a spiced German buttercream

  • Coconut Macaron - Vanilla bean shell filled with a coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Macaron - Chocolate shell filled with peanut butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Peeps Macaron - Sugared Vanilla bean shell filled with a vanilla bean marshmallow and rolled in sanding sugar

A few wee tips:

  • I have added the base recipe we use for the shells down below, then at the end I have put the variations in food colouring or finishing that we did to make each shell ‘flavour’ (they are all vanilla bean flavour, except for the chocolate, and I have added in a note, or you can just refer to this recipe. The filling recipes and assembly instructions will be underneath the shell recipe.

  • Everything I have learnt along the way about making macarons is in the notes of this post - I update it whenever I have something to add. I suggest giving it a good read through before you start if you are new to macs!

  • We used this box to make this cookie box - Rich cut me little dividers on the laser cutter, but the craft wood is soft enough that you can use a craft knife and a ruler. We then just taped the dividers in.

  • We made all the shells except for the chocolate ones on one day (we could have done them all on the one day, we just got lazy), the mini egg ganache, and the pastry cream for the Hot Cross Bun German buttercream, and then the following day made the remainder of the fillings, filled the macarons, and filled and shot the box. If you break up your workload, and prep your ingredients before you start (having enough sheet pans is important), it isn’t too much work!

  • We worked it so that we could re-use some of the fillings - we made one larger batch of swiss meringue buttercream (double what is listed below, so 4 sticks of butter), then split it, and added the coconut to half and the peanut butter to the remaining half. This made the filling process super easy as we didn’t need to make five fillings from scratch

  • In terms of work flow, we were able to start the next batch of shells soon after piping out the previous ones. Like I mentioned before, this only works if you have lots of sheet pans!

  • If you are colouring one batch of batter two different colours, mix it part of the way, then split the batter into separate bowls (half a batch of batter weighs 420g), then add the gel food colouring and finish the mixing process. For example we split a batch and coloured half for the creme egg macs, and half for the peeps macs, then did the same with the coconut macs and the hot cross bun macs. We made one bigger batch of the chocolate shells as the cocoa powder has to be mixed in with the ground almond mixture.

  • Store all the shells in an airtight container until ready to fill.

 

 

Vanilla Bean Macarons

- Makes about 30 Macarons -

Macaron Shell Recipe from I love Macarons, with adaptations from Fox and Crane 

Note: this is the base recipe for every shell we made in the box, except the chocolate shells. For Chocolate shells, reduce the powdered sugar to 270g, and add in 20g dark dutch process or black cocoa with the powdered sugar mix. There is a recipe here.

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

 

- PROCESS -

Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle. 

Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Add gel food colouring, if using, a few drops at a time, until the desired colour is reached. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (there is a good example here). 

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture. 

Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Again, this video does a good job of explaining it. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.

Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.

Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly. 

Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth.

Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity. 

About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven. 

Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that! 

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.

If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper. 

Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use. 

-FLAVOUR / COLOUR VARIATIONS -

  • For Creme egg shells, tint the shells with grey/blue gel colouring (we used ‘ash’ by americolor and a tiny drop of black), then splatter with watered down black gel food colouring using a paintbrush after the shells have baked. Fill with Creme egg ganache (recipe follows)

  • For Hot Cross Bun shells, tint the shells with brown food colouring (we used ‘chocolate brown' by americolor), then fill with spiced German Buttercream (recipe follows)

  • For the Coconut shells, tint the shells with yellow food colouring (we used ‘lemon yellow’ by americolor), then fill with coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe follows)

  • For the Chocolate shells, add 20g dark dutch process or black cocoa to the powdered sugar mix - see the note above, or there is a recipe here. Fill with peanut butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe follows)

  • For the Peeps shells, tint the shells bright pink (we used ‘deep pink’ by americolor), and dust with pink sanding sugar once piped. Fill with vanilla bean marshmallow (recipe follows)

  • If you would like to add a cross to the hot cross bun macarons, you can make one out of powdered sugar and milk. Sift 100g powdered sugar into a bowl, then add milk until you form a thick paste. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip, and pipe crosses on half the shells (do this before you fill them).

 

 

Creme egg ganache

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

12 regular sized cadbury creme eggs (35g each, 420g total), chopped
90g (6 Tbsp) Heavy Cream
30g (2 Tbsp) unsalted butter
100g milk chocolate

- PROCESS -

Place all of the ingredients in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the bowl does not touch the water. Stir with a whisk or spatula until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a container, and press a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the filling. Refrigerate for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the ganache has firmed up to a piping consistency. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip.

Pair each macaron shell with another of a similar size. Pipe a circle of buttercream on one half, and then sandwich with the second shell. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Spiced German Buttercream

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

110g dark brown sugar
12g (1 1/2 Tbsp) cornstarch
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
190g whole milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin spice or mixed spice
340g (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

- PROCESS -

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and corn starch, then whisk in the egg, egg yolk and salt. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice / mixed spice. Heat to to just shy of a simmer.  Remove from the heat.

Using one hand to whisk constantly, pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. This helps to temper the eggs and stop them from scrambling. Whisk until incorporated, and then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan.

Heat the milk and egg mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble. It will thicken quickly. Once it has thickened, cook for one minute, then remove from the heat. Pour into a shallow container or bowl of a stand mixer and press some plastic wrap over the surface to avoid a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold - at least four hours, preferably overnight. If you need to speed this process up, you can place the pastry cream in a bowl, then place the bowl in an ice bath. Stir frequently.

Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment, and place the pastry cream in the bowl. Whip the mixture on medium until creamy and lump-free. Begin adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, until fully incorporated. It may look curdled at some point but just keep whipping - it will come together! Store in an airtight container until ready to use, or if using immediately, transfer to a piping bag fitted with large french star tip.

Pair up the macaron shells, and a round of buttercream on one half. Top with the second shell. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Coconut Swiss Meringue buttercream

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

60g egg whites
100g granulated sugar
pinch of salt
225g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
100g coconut threads or flakes, blitzed in a food processor until finely chopped
Sprinkles to finish (we used ‘hangin’ with my peeps’ by sprinkle pop)

- PROCESS -

Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high until they are snowy white and fluffy, 8-10 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 10 minutes.

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the vanilla bean paste. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air. Add the blitzed coconut and mix to combine. Fit a piping bag with a large round tip, and fill the bag with the buttercream.

Pair up the macaron shells, and pipe a round of buttercream on one half of each pair. Top with the second shell. Smooth any buttercream that is sticking over the edges with your finger, then roll the macarons in sprinkles so that the sprinkles stick to the buttercream. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue buttercream

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

60g egg whites
100g granulated sugar
pinch of salt
225g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
150g smooth/creamy peanut butter (processed peanut butter is best, natural may seize your buttercream)

- PROCESS -

Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high until they are snowy white and fluffy, 8-10 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 10 minutes.

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the vanilla bean paste and peanut butter. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air. Fit a piping bag with a small french star tip, and fill the bag with the buttercream.

Pair up the macaron shells, and pipe a round of buttercream blobs on one half of each pair. Top with the second shell. Smooth any buttercream that is sticking over the edges with your finger, then roll the macarons in sprinkles so that the sprinkles stick to the buttercream. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Vanilla Bean Marshmallow

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

Note - make sure you have everything ready to go before you make the marshmallow, as you will have to work quite quickly once it is whipped. Pair up the shells and have the piping bag ready. Extra marshmallow can be cured in a greased loaf pan.

14g (2 packets) powdered gelatine
76g cold water
103g liquid honey
76g water
265g sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
Bright Pink gel food colour (we used ‘deep pink’ by americolor)
Pink Sanding sugar to finish (optional)

- PROCESS -

Fit a large piping bag with a round tip. Fit the stand mixer with the whisk attachment. In the mixing bowl, combine the cold water and gelatin and mix well with a fork, and leave to bloom while you prepare the sugar syrup.

In a medium pot, combine the water, honey, vanilla, and sugar. Heat over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally. Heat until the syrup reaches 240˚f /120˚c, then remove from the heat and leave to cool to 210˚f /100˚c.

Turn the mixer on to medium, and mix for a few seconds to help break up the bloomed gelatin. With the mixer running, VERY carefully pour the hot sugar syrup into the mixer. Turn the speed up to high, and whip for 5-7 minutes, until the marshmallow has doubled in volume, has turned white, and holds somewhat of a peak when you stop the mixer and lift out the whisk. While the marshmallow is mixing, add pink gel food colouring as desired. Transfer to the piping bag.

Pair up the macaron shells, and pipe a round of marshmallow on one half of each pair. Top with the second shell. Press down lightly, then carefully sprinkle the exposed marshmallow with pink sanding sugar. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!

Hot Cross Bun Morning Buns


 
Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.
Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.
Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.
Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.
Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.
Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.
Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.
Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.
Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.

Happy Easter! I have spent today googling why it's not a public holiday here in the States (or is it? I usually judge this by whether spin class is on or not), eating the easter eggs that didn't make it into the cookie box that I didn't make, and sitting on my butt in front of the kitten's cage, trying to help socialise poor miss bunny. She's the shyest kitten I've come across in a very, very long time, but we are slowly starting to get there. She hasn't bitten me in a few days, so I'm going to take that as a small win. 

I've had these swimming around my head for a while - they were meant to be the product of a baking day a few weeks back, but we got snowed off. I haven't been able to stop thinking about them, and so they had to happen. I've been meaning to make morning buns for the longest time, and after having some success with making my own puff pastry, I figured giving yeasted laminated dough couldn't be too tricky. The actual laminating of the dough wasn't too bad, but it did take a few tries to get the right dimensions to shape these into nice little buns. I ended up testing these three times, which was fairly labour intensive, but the good news there is that I did all the work for you, and now you just get to make them once, without exploding a whole tray of laminated dough all over the floor of your oven. Don't ask. 

I figured seeing as it's easter time, I would go with some hot cross bun inspired morning buns. I started with Erin Mcdowell's dough recipe, and then spiced both the yeasted dough and the butter block for the lamination. Once I had finished my rolling and folding process, I rolled the dough out thinly, filled it with a spiced sugar, currants, and raisins, and then rolled it up into a swirly sausage, similar to how you would roll a cinnamon bun. They were then chopped up, and loaded into a sugar lined muffin tin, before being baked off. As laminated dough is baked, all the layers created with the butter get steamy, creating an amazingly flaky finished product, that shatters as you bite into it. Although I was extremely happy with how they looked when they came out of the oven, they aren't hot cross buns without a cross - so I gave them a quick mascarpone vanilla bean cross, which turned out to be a delicious addition. These would be perfect for Easter, but I would happily eat them all year round too. Do consider making your own laminated dough - once you get the hang of it, it is fairly easy, and a lot of fun!

A few wee tips:

  • A thermometer will be very helpful here - you want to make sure that the dough and the butter block are the same temperature before you start your lamination process. I use a digital probe thermometer, and I love it.
  • A scale is also helpful. Grams for life. 
  • Temperature is key! After a few turns you do start to get the hang of things, and you can tell when the dough is a good temperature to do a fold. If it is hard to roll out you can leave it at room temp for a while, and if the butter is melting at the surface, it may need a little more time in the fridge. 
  • If you can't find mixed spice, you can easily make your own - I used this recipe, omitting the mace
  • The dough for the buns needs to be made the night before, for an overnight chill. 
  • This does make quite a few - you can freeze them once they are rolled up and sliced into buns, - when you are ready to bake, leave them to defrost in the fridge, then rise and bake off as directed. Make sure you store them in a ziploc bag or something airtight to ensure they don't take on the taste of your freezer. 
 

 

Hot Cross Bun Morning Buns

- Makes about 24 -

Dough recipe adapted from Erin Mcdowell, via Food52

Dough
567g (4 3/4 cups) Bread Flour
71g unsalted butter, at room temperature
14g (1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp) instant yeast
2 1/2 tsp salt
360g (360ml) whole milk, cold
1 Tbsp Vanilla bean paste
2 1/2 tsp mixed spice
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Butter Block
455g (1 lb, or 4 sticks) butter, at room temperature
71g bread flour
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Filling
113g (one stick) unsalted butter, melted
135g (2/3 cup) brown sugar
135g (2/3 cup) white sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
150g dried raisins
70g dried currants

Mascarpone Icing (for the crosses)
One 225g (8oz) container of mascarpone, cold
63g (1/2 cup) icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
 

- PROCESS -

BREAD DOUGH

Place all of the ingredients into a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Mix on low speed for 3 minutes, then increase the speed to medium, and mix for a further 4 minutes, until the dough is smooth. Place into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge overnight.

LAMINATING THE DOUGH

To make the butter block, combine the butter, bread flour, vanilla bean paste, mixed spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl, and mix until well combined. On a 13" x 18" piece of parchment paper, spread the butter into a 6" x 9" rectangle that is approximately 1/2" thick, using an offset spatula to square off the edges. Fold the remaining parchment paper down, using a bench scraper to square off the edges again (very square butter is very helpful!). Place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes, until it is between 60˚f and 70˚f (15˚c to 20˚c). 

Once it has reached the ideal temperature, bring both the butter block and the dough out of the fridge. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a rectangle approximately 12" x 10". Place the butter block on the bottom half of the dough (you should have about half an inch space around the edges), and fold over the dough to 'lock' in the butter, pressing down the edges to seal it in. Tuck any excess underneath. Wrap in plastic wrap, place on the baking sheet, and rest in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. 

Remove the dough from the fridge. You are now going to begin the folding process. You will do a four fold, a three fold, a four fold, and another three fold.

Turn #1: 4-fold

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 13" x 18" rectangle, using a bench scraper to keep the edges tightly squared off. Turn the dough so a long edge is facing you. Take the left edge of the dough, and fold 3/4 of the way across the dough, lining up the edges. Fold the right edge to meet the left, about 1/4 of the way across. Fold the dough in half, left side over right. Transfer to the baking sheet, brush off extra flour, and cover with plastic wrap. Rest for another 30 minutes.

Turn #2: 3-fold

Remove the dough from the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, repeat the rolling process - roll to 13" x 19", and square the edges. Turn so a long edge is facing you. Fold the left side of the dough 1/3 of the way across, then fold the right side of the dough over the left (so you have 3 layers of dough). Place on the baking sheet, brush off flour, cover and refrigerate. Rest for 30 minutes.

Turn #3: 4-fold

Repeat the process for a 4-fold as explained above, taking care to square the edges. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.

Turn #4: 3-fold

This is your final fold. Roll out, square off, and repeat the instructions for a 3-fold above. Cover, and rest for 30 minutes. 

ASSEMBLY AND BAKING

Remove the dough from the fridge, and divide in half. Wrap one half tightly in plastic and leave in the fridge while you work with the first half. Brush two 12-hole muffin tins with melted butter, and dust with sugar, tapping out the excess. Combine the sugars, mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl. In a second bowl, combine the raisins and currants.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one half of the dough to a rectangle 12" x 24". Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with half of the sugar mixture, pressing down to adhere. Sprinkle with half of the raisins and currants. Starting with a long end, roll up into a tight spiralled log. Cut into 12 equal pieces using a bread knife (approx 1 1/2" width each), and place each bun into a cavity in the prepared muffin tin. Loosely cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with the second half of dough. 

Place the buns in a warm place for 40-50 minutes, until they have risen slightly and are puffy. When you press lightly, your finger should leave an indent that bounces back very slightly. Preheat the oven to 365˚f / 185˚c.

Bake the buns for 25-35 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven, and turn out the buns onto a wire rack. Dust with additional sugar. Place on the rack to cool. 

MASCARPONE CROSSES

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat all the ingredients together until smooth and fluffy. Transfer to a small piping bag fitted with a medium sized round piping tip, or a piping bag or ziploc bag with the end snipped off. Pipe a cross on each bun. 

These buns are best eaten the day that they are made. If desired, rewarm slightly before eating. Store leftovers in an airtight container. 

 

Hot Cross Bun Morning buns - a fancy twist on the traditional hot cross bun. A spiced dough is laminated with spiced butter, before being filled with a spiced sugar and dried fruit, and rolled up into a morning bun. The buns are finished with a mascarpone vanilla bean cross.