Easter always means hot cross buns, but when there are more than a few left over at the end of the weekend, it's time to do something other than toast them!
I used ours to make a baked French toast for breakfast, adding in some frozen berries, and serving it with maple syrup and a bit of cream cheese icing left from icing the crosses on the hot cross buns when I made them.
I baked this in a bundt pan, as I had visions of turning it out and presenting it at the table, cutting large wedges out for people to eat. Needless to say, I didn't pack the custard soaked bread firmly enough into the bundt pan, so the unmoulding part of the vision failed.
Using a spoon to scoop it out worked, and everyone still had their share of crispy-on-the-outside, soft and creamy on the inside baked French toast, full of hot cross bun spices and slightly tart berries.
In a large bowl, place:
8 cups cubed stale hot cross buns, approximately 1" cubes
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
Turn the oven on to 350F to heat, and grease a bundt pan.
Pour the liquid ingredients over the bread cubes, and gently toss until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
Put a quarter of the soaked bread cubes into the bundt pan, pressing gently, and top with:
1/2 cup frozen berries
Repeat until all of the bread has been used, ending with a layer of bread cubes.
Bake until the top of the French toast is golden and the centre is set and hot, about 40 - 45 minutes. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving, with maple syrup and whipped cream cheese icing being passed at the table.
- In order for the French toast to unmould nicely from the bundt pan, make sure to press the bread gently into the pan so that it forms a solid layer. This French toast can also be baked in an ovenproof casserole, and served directly from there.
- Another option is to grease the pan well, and then coat the inside with sugar or ground nuts before adding the bread.
- The bread can also be sliced into 1" thick slices, and placed in a buttered ovenproof dish, slightly overlapping. Pour the custard over the bread and leave it to soak up the liquid before baking.
- Any bread can be used; stale works best as it absorbs the custard well. I like to use breads that have fruit, nuts or sweet spices such as cinnamon in them as this adds flavour to the French toast.
- The custard can also be made with orange juice instead of milk, or a combination of the two. You can also substitute half and half or whipping cream for a richer custard.
- Try folding in some diced bacon, cooked until crispy for a sweet and salty flavour contrast.