April brings about a certain cinnamon air to it, don’t you think? Our Capetonian autumns have been magical to experience, what with the bougainvillea vibrancy being accentuated by the yellowing, tawny street debris. I adore a good, brisk walk in the park during this weather!
As the seemingly short-lived summer comes to an end, we find ourselves prepping our homes for the chilly South Easter and rain. I’m still a bit amazed by that thunderstorm a few weeks ago. Just as suddenly as it came, it disappeared! And one thing is for sure – I could not comfort eat enough to keep the chill away, haha!
So, I had a big think about which recipes to flip through and which to scrap. We’ve done the stews and we’ve done the cocktails. Our salads have been covered, also cookies. Grumpily, it occurred to me that there is almost nothing that my mum and I did not attempt in the kitchen before.
Then it hit me. In a glorious, cinnamon-butter and raisin-laded goodness.
Hot. Cross. Buns. !!!
Whether you bake your own piping hot buns or opt for store-bought trays, cherished hot cross buns are an Easter tradition that has stood the test of time just like Roodeberg.
I’m quite embarrassed to admit that our family has not attempted this dish yet. Courtesy of the fine Food Fox – who I admire tremendously – and Roodeberg’s perfectly paired Classic Red Blend, this autumn is awaiting a deliciously comforting pairing. With Ilse van der Merwe’s traditional-with-a-twist hot cross buns, you’ll find yourself donning the baking apron quickly for this cardamon-cross bun with dark chocolate chunks.
“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,” says Ilse.
When attempting these recipes or if you’re just in the mood to buy the devilishly good pair of buns and Roodeberg, feel free to tag @the_foodfox and @eatdrinkcapetown_ on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I’d love to repost you and your comfort!
Ilse van der Merwe’s Hot Cross Buns with Cardamom & Dark Chocolate
@the_foodfox on Instagram www.thefoodfox.com
This recipe uses a stand mixer to make beautifully classic, fluffy hot cross buns. Omit the cardamom and dark chocolate chips if you prefer a more traditional bun.
(Makes 12 large or 20 medium buns)
630 g (4½ cups) white bread flour, plus extra for kneading
150 g (2/3 cup) caster sugar
10 g (15 ml) instant yeast
7,5 ml (1½ tsp) salt
10 ml (2 tsp) ground “mixed spice”
10 ml (2 tsp) ground cinnamon
4 cardamom pods, seeds ground with a pestle & mortar (husks removed)
60 g (¼ cup) butter, melted
375 ml (1½ cups) milk
1 extra large egg
130 g (1 cup) sultanas / golden sultanas
Zest of an orange, finely grated
80-160 g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
For the stripes/crosses:
70 g (½ cup) flour
75 ml (5 Tbsp) water
For the glaze:
30 ml smooth apricot jam
15-30 ml water
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 5 minutes. Add the chocolate chips and mix for 1 minute.
Turn the sticky dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead 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 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).
Ilse van der Merwe’s Hot Cross Bun Pudding with Nutella & Raspberries
@the_foodfox on Instagram www.thefoodfox.com
This easy recipe turns store-bought hot cross buns into a delicious warm dessert. For a more classic bread pudding omit the Nutella and spread the buns with butter and marmalade or raspberry jam before pouring over the custard.
6 large hot cross buns (or 9 medium)
6 Tbsp Nutella (or butter and jam)
500 ml fresh cream
250 ml milk
90 ml (6 Tbsp) caster sugar
6 extra large eggs
5 ml (1 tsp) ground “mixed spice” or cinnamon
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
1 cup of raspberries, to serve
250 ml cream, whipped, to serve (or a few scoops of vanilla ice cream)
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.