As a child I never really understood the excitement around hot cross buns. They weren’t iced, they had currants and if you were really unlucky candied peel in them. They were really a bit dull and it took so long to chew round all that fruit.
The week before Easter the bakers window would be bursting with buns and my sister and mother would plan the shopping around being sure to have bought them, as fresh as possible, for Good Friday. They’d be sliced and carefully toasted, with my sister taking charge of the eye level grill. Just as well, it was way above my head, literally. The smell was so tempting, sweet and spicy, then once toasted, spread thickly with butter. I was still on my not liking butter stage so, I’d take my dry bun and lick the sweet glaze off the top. A treat that didn’t last long, I’d sit at the table, swinging my legs and trying to understand my mother and sister Oohing and Aahing over their Easter treat.
Hot cross buns are available for several months before Easter now and are somehow less of a treat for that. I now love dried fruit, butter and all things spicy; of course, I now understand all that oohing and aahing too, over a really good mix of saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. A perfect spicing with a wonderful aroma, all of which I have combined into my Hot Cross Bun Spiced Ice Cream. A spice infused milk and cream mixture which churns into a beautifully aromatic, soft ice cream.
Hot Cross Bun Spiced Ice Cream
- 300ml Full fat milk
- 300ml double cream
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 5 cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 cinnamon stick about 4cm (2 inches)
- 2 cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
- Pinch of saffron
- 100g caster sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 70g currants
- 30g candies peel
- Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan, add all of the spices and bring the mixture just to a boil over a medium heat.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool, to infuse the spices into the milk and cream, set aside
- Mix together the eggs and sugar in a large bowl, until light in colour and fluffy
- Reheat the cream and milk mix to just boiling point, sieve into a jug. Discard the spices
- Whisking continually, add the cream and milk mixture to the eggs
- Pour back into a clean saucepan and heat over a moderate heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon
- Pour into a bowl sitting on a bed of ice and place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the top of the custard to stop a skin forming.
- Once cooled add the currants and peel, place in a churner and churn until thickened and frozen.
- Place in a sealed container in the freezer to store.
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