Rumbling Ramblings: Easter Hot Cross Bun French Toast

Words: Karl Tessendorf

French toast was one of the first things I ever learnt to cook and it’s still one of my all-time favourite dishes. I can still remember my mother slaving away in front of multiple pans, cooking furiously to keep up with the demand of her five piranha-like children. She’d flip pieces onto the table two at a time and in an instant, they’d disappear. Some liked it sweet, some liked it savoury but one thing’s for sure, we all loved those French toast feeding frenzies.


If you’re going to do something, do it properly

Like so many things in life, the beauty of French toast lies in its simplicity. All you need is bread, milk, eggs, butter and syrup, and you’ve got yourself a feast.

But once again, as in life, if something is worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.

I’ve made French toast with every bread and baked good you can imagine, but one of my favourites has to be hot cross buns. They’re sweet, spicy and only really available in abundance once a year, which makes them feel like a real treat.

The Call of Chocolate is Strong

As I made my way to Woolies I contemplated the choice of traditional hot cross buns or the chocolate variety. The purist in me said get the traditional; but the allure of chocolately French toast was too hard to ignore. I bought a pack of each and… okay fine, I bought two packs of each, then headed home to fire up the stove.

When it comes to French toast batter, everyone has their own method.

For me, I like a rich and creamy batter with just a hint of spice. For this I use only the egg yolks to really amp up the custard factor. I also use half milk and half cream to give the mixture a creamy smoothness.

For sweetness, I use a little demerara sugar and vanilla, and for spice a pinch of cinnamon. You could also add a touch of lemon zest, a pinch of nutmeg, or even a sprinkle of cayenne pepper if you’re feeling dangerous.

To top it off

For toppings on this the inaugural batch of chocolate hot cross bun French toast I’ve gone all out. We’ve got a tart raspberry compote to complement the sweetness of the chocolate and syrup, and we’ve got a blueberry butter to add a creamy balance.

To top it all off, we’ve got some crushed pistachios to add a little texture and saltiness. Yup this is certainly not a slimmer’s breakfast but then again French toast isn’t supposed to be.

Overall I’d say that this year’s batch of hot cross bun French toast has been the best one yet. I made this recipe both traditional and chocolate buns and can safely say they were both bloody delicious. As much as the purist in me is loathed to admit it, I think the chocolate buns came out tops. One can only guess what new version they’ll think of next year. With any luck it’ll be a hot cross bacon bun.

RECIPE: Chocolate Hot Cross Bun French Toast

Serves: 6-8
Difficulty: easy
Prep time: 25 mins
Cooking time: 35 minutes + 30 minutes freezing time

Raspberry Compote

350 g fresh raspberries
¼ C (60 ml) sugar
½ tsp (2.5 ml) vanilla essence
zest of 1 small lemon
2 Tbsp (30 ml) water

Blueberry Butter

250 g butter, softened
200 g fresh blueberries

French Toast

12 chocolate hot cross buns*
6 large egg yolks
1 C (250 ml) milk
1 C (250 ml) cream
2 Tbsp (30 ml) demerara sugar
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla essence
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cinnamon
½  tsp (2.5 ml) salt
butter for frying
1-2 packets streaky bacon, grilled until crispy
150 g pistachios, shelled and finely chopped
golden or maple syrup to drizzle

Raspberry Compote

Place all of the ingredients into a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes and stir occasionally to break down the fruit. Raspberries can be quite tart, so if you prefer a sweeter compote, add a little more sugar and sweeten to taste. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Blueberry Butter

Using a stand mixer or hand blender, cream the butter until it is pale in colour. Fold the blueberries in with a spatula and mix until combined.

Spread a sheet of cling wrap out on a clean surface. Spoon the butter on to the cling wrap in a rough line in order to easily form a cylindrical shape. Roll the cling film into a sausage shape while twisting the ends closed. An easy way to do this is to pick up the butter sausage by the twisted ends and then roll it towards yourself on the counter, this will help to shape and tighten it. The tighter the roll, the more even your shape.

Wrap the butter roll in tinfoil and pop it in the freezer.

Hot Cross Bun French Toast

Whisk the ingredients together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.

Heat a small knob of butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat.

Dip the hot cross buns in the mixture until they are saturated. Place into the hot butter and fry for about 2 minutes a side or until golden brown. Repeat this step until all the slices have been fried.

Stack the French toast on a serving plate. Unwrap and slice the blueberry butter into slices approximately 1 cm thick.

Serve the French toast stack topped with blueberry butter, a dollop of raspberry compote, a squeeze of syrup, a sprinkling of pistachios and crispy bacon on the side. Devour!

Hot Cross Bun French toast

Want to make your own Hot Cross Buns for your Hot Cross Bun French Toast? Try our recipe HERE.

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