The April Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She challenged us to Spring into our kitchens and make Easter breads reflecting cultures around the world.
Pancakes, hot cross buns and chocolate – you’d be crazy not to love Easter! I missed Pancake Day this year as I was ill with food poisoning. However, I believe that pancakes & hot cross bun should be eaten all year round, and so did my mum. During my childhood, every Saturday was Pancake Day. Dinner consisted solely of sweet pancakes – lemon & sugar, chocolate spread and occasionally ice cream. We continuously hopped from stove to dinner table as each of us took our turn at making our own pancakes. To this day my parents still enjoy a lunchtime meal of pancakes. I dropped by my parents on Easter Monday afternoon – my mum disappeared to the stove and returns to sneakily slides a pancake in front of me.
My mum has also been partial to a current bun, she loves her scones and tea cakes, slathered in butter and delicious homemade damson jam. I often thought that tea cakes were like hot cross buns minus the sticky crossed tops. Thanks to M&S, I’ve become a fan of their iced spiced buns, which is essentially a hot cross buns dunked in icing. However, there is oceans full of traditional fruit buns out there, each British county, and further afield in Europe, seems to have their own version with varying combinations of spices and dried fruit.
For this months challenge, I made a contemporary twist on the traditional hot cross bun. There were so many different recipes to choose from, but I opted for the simplest which could be easily adapted. Waitrose Cherry Chocolate hot cross bun recipe
My chocolate buns had dates infused with Marquise grey tea. The lemon & bergamot added depth to the treacly sweetness of the date. I also made matcha buns with salted plum & glace cherries – two flavours that can be overpowering on their own worked well crumbled up within this bun. To add to my dedication to this months challenge, I ‘indulged’ in a late-night preparation session, followed by waking up at the crack of dawn to get them shaped & baked ready for breakfast. The slow proving overnight in my walk-in-larder-of-a-kitchen made the dough light & airy. With my teething baby needing feeds & attention throughout the night, I only managed 3hrs sleep.
However, these buns were hugely popular in my household, baby shunned her cereal in favour for a slice of hot cross bun, taking so much care to eat up every morsel, whilst tossing her spoon of untouched porridge onto the floor. Like my mother’s passion for pancakes & fruit buns, I too will pass these culinary traditions to my daughter. However, I really hope she starts eating porridge again and doesn’t continually expect mummy’s homemade buns every day!