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Hot Cross Bun Croquembouche – just saying it makes you feel fancy! While this dessert may have a shmancy, complicated-sounding name, the recipe is far from it! A traditional croquembouche is all about making those puffy little choux buns then filling them up with custard and piling them into a glorious tower to produce oooohs and aaaahs. And while this will still get you the oooohs and aaaahs it is WAY less effort because of a clever little shortcut that no one will ever judge you for…

The secret is using ready-made buns! I’ve used Albany’s new D’Light Choc Chip Hot Cross Buns (because not everyone is mad about fruit and spices but everyone does love chocolate!). You could also go for Albany’s traditional variety which is loaded with spices and dried fruit – either will work in this recipe. Just like it’s French cousin the choux puff, I’ve stuffed the buns (which are soooo soft and fluffy) full of a chocolatey custard then dipped them in caramel and piled them high with spun sugar and Easter Eggs. People will think you’ve been slaving for hours to bake this (so just nod and smile and go along with it, okay?!) The crunch of the caramel with the soft buns and creamy custard is textural heaven but looks-wise it’s one heck of a showstopper dessert! If you’re looking for more hot cross bun inspo, try these Hot Cross Bun Macarons or how about these insane Rocky Road Easter Egg Brownies!  I’d love to know what baking you have planned for Easter – let me know in the comments below…

Hot Cross Bun Croquembouche

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 6-8 people

Ingredients

  • CHOCOLATE PASTRY CREAM
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 80g castor sugar
  • 40g corn flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • pinch of cloves
  • 100g good-quality 55% dark chocolate, finely chopped plus extra, melted for decorating
  • 15-30ml boiling hot water
  • 3 x pack of 6 Albany D’Light Choc Chip Hot Cross Buns
  • CARAMEL
  • 200g white sugar
  • 200ml water
  • Easter eggs, to decorate

Instructions

  1. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour together with 80ml (1/3 cup) of the milk. In a small saucepan, bring the rest of the milk and vanilla to the boil and take off the heat. In a steady stream pour the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking until combined. Return the mixture to a low heat and stir for 2-3 minutes or until thick. Stir in the orange zest, spices and chopped chocolate. Pour the custard onto a plate, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until completely cool. Whisk the cooled custard until smooth, adding just enough hot water so the custard is smooth and creamy. Place in a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.
  2. Using a small paring knife, make a hole in the side of each Albany D’Light Hot Cross Bun. Insert the piping nozzle into the hole, then fill with custard until the bun feels full. Repeat with the remaining buns.
  3. Prepare the caramel by placing the sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil and simmer until golden brown. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Working with 1 bun at a time, dip the side into the caramel and glue it to a serving dish or cake stand. Continue dipping and glueing to form a tower of hot cross buns, finishing with 1 bun at the top. Decorate with spun sugar and Easter eggs, if desired.
  5. TIP Serve immediately as the caramel doesn’t last long.
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