The Spanish doughnut obsession at Easter (torrijas, buñuelos and the like) is particularly close to my heart (attack!) and if there was a British Olympic Doughnut Eating Team I’d be on it! That said, I’ve stayed close to home for this twist on bread and butter pudding, though any fruity bread, or brioche, may be deployed here
- 6 hot cross buns
- Butter, for spreading
- Marmalade (optional)
- 750ml full-cream milk
- 6 egg yolks
- 100g caster sugar
- 1½ tsp vanilla essence or the seeds of one vanilla pod
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas mark 3.
- First, make the custard. Heat the milk in a pan until scalded, but not boiling.
- Put the egg yolks, caster sugar and vanilla into a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Pour a splash of the hot milk into the egg mixture and stir quickly. Add the rest of the milk bit by bit, mixing well after each addition, which will prevent the eggs from scrambling and ruining the dish.
- Cut the hot cross buns in half horizontally. Spread each half with butter (as liberally as you like) and marmalade, if using. Lay the buns in an ovenproof dish that will take all six snugly but not too tightly.
- Slowly pour over the egg and milk mixture, gently moving the buns to allow the mixture to circulate. I also lift the top halves just a little to make sure the custard permeates them fully. Now leave to stand for 20 to 30 minutes to let the custard soak in.
- Put the dish into the oven and cook for about 35-40 minutes, at which point you should open the oven up and give the dish a nudge. The custard should be wobbly, not yet solid, but not liquid. If it is, remove it from the oven and leave to stand, as it will continue to set. If it still looks too wet, give it five more minutes and check again.
- Once the pudding has stood for a while, serve with chilled cream or ice cream and an optional drizzle of Irish cream liqueur or a swirl of intense and treacly Pedro Ximenez sherry.
Cooks’ tips: This can also be made ahead and served cold, or very gently reheated in a very low oven. For extra indulgence, try adding a dash of orange liqueur, or a drop of the Irish cream to the custard before baking.
To disarm agents provocateurs like cream, eggs, and yeasty dough, and avoid post-prandial stupor, aim for full sweetness (at least 6 on The Society scale) tempered by acidity and lightness of touch. A touch of noble rot is the perfect match for marmalade, if you’ve used it. The delightfully light (5% alc) and hauntingly grapy Moscato d’Asti will keep everything all sweetness and light, or you could opt for something more in the style of Sauternes, like Monbazillac.