hot cross bun pudding

i love eating seasonally – there is something very comforting that no matter what else changes in life, we still eat hot cross buns at easter/autumn, fresh corn in late summer, strawberries in december, mandarins at the beginning of winter, apples and pears in autumn, asparagus in spring…. i could go on and on.
My mum is passionate about eating in season and eating local/New Zealand grown produce, (which go entirely hand in hand) which she has passed on to me. Lemons from the USA? Garlic from China? No thanks! (ps please don’t take offence guys, i’m sure they’re great!)
The only exception would have to be coffee and the odd bit of tropical fruit  – but once global warming heats Dunedin to a balmy coffee plantation temperature, just you wait – i’ll be the first to jump on that bandwagon ;)
So hot cross buns is a kind of incongruous addition to that list – i hear you ask – but anna, flour and dried fruit and yeast are hardly seasonal ingredients: we eat bread all year round! what are you on about girl? but what i mean is that they appear in shops for easter, and disappear afterwards.
wholeheartedly embracing this seasonal, locavore eating, i have enjoyed quite a few hot cross buns over the last few weeks ;) – toasted with real butter, they are hard to beat! of course, if you’re looking to jazz some stale ones up a bit, i have another recipe to present to you – a hot cross bun pudding! I made a thick rich custardy sauce, poured it over them then baked in a water bath for 45 ish mins – and it was delicious! I have evidence to prove it – soon after i took it out of the oven and dished myself up a generous portion (dessert for dinner is ALWAYS a good idea) i retreated to the library to get my life sorted. An hour or so later, i received a text from one of the boys that simply said “that hot cross bun pudding was awesome”.
and it really is – the liquid forms little pockets of creme brûlée in the gaps and the hot cross buns get crispy on top and soft and custardy underneath. I refrained from butter because I read the nutritional info on the cream bottle and it scarred me for life  I decided to not further pain the old arteries – but if you want to substitute the cream with milk partly or fully, i would defs consider buttering them. I would also consider upping the sugar if you know that you like your desserts on the sweeter side, as this pudding is a very restrained sweetness, which i like. alternately, just serve with lots of vanilla ice cream! we didn’t have any because ice cream has a life expectancy of approximately 2 1/2 hours around the flat ;)
oh my goodness – the new zealand cricket team, the black caps, are in the final of the Cricket World Cup against our arch nemesis/ bffls Australia (we have a complicated sporting relationship haha). The whole country will be on the edge of their seats tonight and i’m just hoping and hoping we manage to beat them. The Black Caps have never made the final before, let alone won it, New Zealand will just be the happiest place to be over the next wee while if we make it!! though to be honest, I think we’ll be good either way – everyone is just so proud of them for making it this far and that’s really really cool. Back the Black Caps! #backtheblackcaps!
hot cross bun pudding
8 hot cross buns, split in half
500 ml cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon quill
1 tsp vanilla
5 eggs
Preheat oven to 160 C and boil a full kettle of water. Arrange the buns in a deep baking dish. Heat the cream, sugar and cinnamon quill gently in the microwave or stovetop until sugar is dissolved and the cinnamon quill has infused the mixture nicely. Allow to cool and then remove the quill. Add vanilla and eggs to the cream mixture, whisking vigorously to combine. Pour custard over the buns and allow to soak in for five or so mins. Put a roasting dish that will comfortably hold your baking dish in the oven, put baking dish into it and then pour in the boiling water around the baking dish- it should come to halfway or two thirds high (you may need a couple of kettles worth). Bake for 45 mins or until nearly set in the middle (it pays to check at 30 min mark). I covered my baking dish with the glass lid, but i think you could get away with it uncovered – it may dry out slightly though. Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 mins, and then serve with vanilla ice cream. enjoy!

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