- 4 tablespoons custard powder
- 2 pints (1.1L) full-fat or semi-skimmed milk
- 4 tablespoons apricot jam , plus extra to glaze
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste , optional
- 8 wholemeal hot cross buns
- 2 tablespoons flaked almonds
- 100 g milk or dark chocolate
- unsalted butter , for spreading
- Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF/gas 3.
- Dissolve the custard powder in a few splashes of cold milk, mixing well. Pour the rest of the milk into a pan and bring to a simmer on a medium-low heat – keep an eye on it.
- Pour half the simmering milk into the custard powder mixture and stir well, then pour that all back into the milk pan. Add the apricot jam and the vanilla bean paste, if using, and simmer until you have a good custard consistency, stirring regularly.
- Halve your hot cross buns. Putting the pretty tops aside, tear the bases into small chunks and scatter into a nice baking dish.
- Pour a third of the custard into a small pan to serve on the side later, then pour the rest over the bun bases and mix together.
- Sprinkle over the almonds, then snap up the chocolate and poke most of it randomly into the mixture.
- Lightly butter the hot cross bun tops, spread generously with some of the reserved custard, and arrange on top, cross-side up. Lightly spread a little more butter on the tops, then poke the last bits of chocolate in between the bun tops.
- Bake for about 40 minutes, or until golden, brushing with more apricot jam (loosened with a little water) for the last 10 minutes.
- Gently reheat the reserved custard and drizzle over the pudding to serve.
– No hot cross buns? Don’t worry, you could use panettone or fruit bread instead, or even white or brown sliced bread.
– By all means swap in plant-based milk, if that’s what you prefer.
– You could sweeten your custard with a little sugar, or swap the jam for marmalade.
– Try crushed-up pistachios or hazelnuts instead of the almonds, or just leave them out. Or, you could use a little dried fruit, if you like.