Put the wow factor into Easter hot cross buns

Tucking into oven-fresh hot cross buns with family and friends is what Easter is all about. When enjoyed with a glass or two of Roodeberg wine, it is a match made in heaven.

Food writer Ilse van der Merwe of has created two delicious hot cross bun recipes with her signature twists to complement Roodeberg wines perfectly.

For the Roodeberg Classic Red Blend, Ilse adds cardamom and dark chocolate to her classic, fluffy buns. 

The depth of flavour and complex bitterness of the cardamom and chocolate really pair well with the wine’s smooth, aromatic fruity layers with hints of sweet spice and dark chocolate. 

If you prefer a more simple yet equally delicious recipe, turn your store-bought hot cross buns into a stellar dessert with Ilse’s Nutella and raspberry spin on the old faithful bread and butter pudding. It is a perfect combination with Roodeberg Classic Rosé. 

So, head over to the kitchen and get baking!

Hot cross buns with cardamom and dark chocolate

Makes 12 large or 20 medium buns

This recipe uses a stand mixer to make beautifully classic, fluffy hot cross buns. Leave out the cardamom and dark chocolate chips if you prefer a more traditional bun. 

You’ll need: 4½ cups white bread flour, plus extra for kneading; 2/3 cup caster sugar; 15ml instant yeast; 7,5ml salt; 10ml ground “mixed spice”; 10ml ground cinnamon; 4 cardamom pods, seeds ground with a pestle & mortar (husks removed); 60g (¼ cup) butter, melted; 375ml milk; 1 extra-large egg; 1 cup sultanas/ golden sultanas; zest of an orange, finely grated; 80-160g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks.

For the stripes/ crosses: ½ cup flour; 75ml water.

For the glaze: 30ml smooth apricot jam; 15-30ml water.

How to:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, yeast, salt and spices and mix well with the flat beater. Add the butter, milk, egg, sultanas and orange zest and mix for another minute. Change to the dough hook, scrape the sides and continue to mix for five minutes. Add the chocolate chips and mix for a minute. 

Turn the sticky dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead it into a smooth ball – adding a little more flour if necessary. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with cling wrap and leave to proof for 1½ hours. In the meantime, line a large deep roasting tray with greaseproof baking paper.  

Turn out the dough and punch it down, then divide it into 12 equal parts (for large buns) or 20 equal parts (for medium), shaping them into smooth balls by pinching any edges together at the bottom. Flatten each ball slightly, then arrange it in the prepared roasting pan allowing some space in-between for rising. Cover with cling wrap and leave to rise for 30-45 minutes until almost double in size. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180° C. 

When the buns are ready, mix the flour and water for the stripes, place in a piping bag with a thin nozzle/hole, then pipe those classic hot cross bun crosses, easing the batter lines into the dips between the buns. 

Bake at 180° C for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and fully cooked. Leave to cool in the tins (don’t be tempted to eat them straight away, they need some time to settle otherwise they will seem undercooked). Serve warm or at room temperature, or toasted, with lashings of butter (and optionally jam or honey). 

Hot cross bun pudding with Nutella and raspberries

Serves 6

This easy recipe turns store-bought hot cross buns into a delicious warm dessert. For a more classic bread pudding leave out the Nutella and spread the buns with butter and marmalade or raspberry jam before pouring over the custard. 

You’ll need: 6 large hot cross buns (or 9 medium); 6 Tbsp Nutella (or butter and jam); 500ml fresh cream; 250ml milk; 90ml caster sugar; 6 extra-large eggs; 5ml ground “mixed spice” or cinnamon; 5ml vanilla extract; 1 cup of raspberries, to serve; 250ml cream, whipped, to serve (or a few scoops of vanilla ice cream).

How to: 

Spray a medium-large rectangular deep baking dish with non-stick baking spray (it should be large enough to fit your buns snugly). 

Cut each bun horizontally into halves, then arrange the bottom halves in the dish. Spread the top halves (cut sides) with Nutella (or butter/jam) and set aside. In a large jug, whisk the cream, milk, sugar, eggs, spice and vanilla until well mixed. 

Pour half of the mixture all over the buns in the baking dish, then top with the prepared top halves. Now pour the remaining half of the custard over the buns and leave to soak for 30-60 minutes, allowing the custard mixture to soften the buns. 

Preheat the oven to 160° C, then bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown on the edges and still a little wobbly in the middle. Remove from the oven, leave to rest for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm with cream or ice cream and fresh raspberries. 

Shop your favourite Roodeberg wines at your nearest leading bottle store or get it here.

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