When Woolworths asked me what I like to top my hot cross buns with, I embarrassingly admitted that I had actually never tried a hot cross bun before. It’s true; all I knew about hot cross buns is the famous nursery rhyme.
Back home where I grew up, we did celebrate Easter with colouring eggs and chocolate treasure hunts in the garden in our old farm house in rural Cairo, but the food traditions were completely different to what the western world eats during Easter. In Egypt, traditional Easter celebration food involves smoked herring called ‘Renga’, stinky pickled and aged fish called ‘Feseekh’ and a whole lotta spring onions. It is quite a smelly affair, and us kids never wanted to have anything to do with it.
The only part that appealed to me and my sisters was the braided sweet yeasted Easter pastries my mother would help us make the night before, which we sprinkled with extra sugar and ate warm from the oven with big glasses of milk. It was something we looked forward to immensely each year.
So anyway, back to the present day, I felt the need to rectify the issue immediately, and so headed to Woolies to grab some of their hot cross buns to try. They were as lovely as I had expected them to be; subtly sweet, soft and squishy rolls with a hint of spice. A perfect vehicle for an endless array of toppings for sure.
Almost immediately, the idea for these caramelised fruit toppings sprung to mind. I felt that the deep, dark bitterness of brown sugar salted caramel with the sweetness and juiciness of the fresh fruit would be the PERFECT accompaniment to the toasted soft squishy buns.
Both figs and pears are in season and just beautiful right now, so I paired lovely plump figs with tangy homemade Labneh, crisp pears with fresh ricotta, and one of my favourite combinations ever: banana with smooth salted peanut butter! YUM!
Don’t be intimidated by the sound of making and working with caramel…I know it can sometimes be finicky, but I promise you this method is super simple and very difficult to mess up! It’s also super quick to make, so ideal for breakfast on Easter morning.
I made a short little video, which I hope you will enjoy.
Tell me, what are your favourite hot cross bun toppings? I’m new to this game so would love to get some inspiration from you guys! If you post a photo on instagram, be sure to tag it with #topthisbun so I can see!
*Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Woolworths
- • 80g brown sugar
- • ⅓-1/2 tsp salt
- • 2 tbsp. water
- • 2 tbsp. (30g) butter
- • 2 figs, halved vertically
- • ½ a pear, cut into 4 wedges
- • 1 banana, sliced diagonally into 4 thick slices
- • a splash of cream or milk, optional
- TO SERVE:
- • 6 Woolworths Hot Cross Buns
- • 4 tbsp. labneh (link to recipe below)
- • 4 tbsp. fresh ricotta
- • 4 tbsp. smooth peanut butter (link to recipe below, or use store bought)
- MAKE THE CARAMELISED FRUIT: Place the sugar, salt and the water in a medium sized non-stick pan and place on medium heat. Shake the pan occasionally until the sugar has melted (do not stir!). As soon as the sugar melts, turn the heat to low and add the butter, shaking the pan to incorporate it into the caramel. Add the sliced fruit immediately to the pan (figs should be cut side down).
- Cook the fruit in the caramel for about a minute, then flip over the banana and pear slices (keep the figs cut side down). Cook a further minute, then remove the pan from the heat and transfer the fruit onto a plate.
- At this stage, if the caramel is too thick or dark for your liking, you may add a splash of cream or milk and return it to the heat for a few seconds till incorporated. I prefer to leave it milk/cream free.
- ASSEMBLE THE BUNS: Slice open each bun and toast them, cut side up, under a broiler/grill for a minute or so until golden brown (or use a toaster oven if you have one). Spread each bottom slice with 2 tbsp. of spread; 2 buns with labneh, 2 buns with ricotta and 2 with peanut butter. Top the labneh buns with 2 fig halves each, the ricotta buns with 2 pear slices each and the peanut butter buns with 2 banana slices each. Drizzle all the buns with a little extra caramel and serve.
Labneh recipe here.