Happy Easter Baking
Get the kids stuck into mixing, whisking, stirring and measuring this Easter with some fantastic holiday recipes. Cooking is a great way to promote healthy eating and food awareness whilst building confidence and encouraging independence. Different recipes give the children a chance to explore their senses and express their creativity and they get to eat what they’ve made.
Hot Cross Buns are a traditional Easter treat full of dried fruit and delicious spices and they make fabulous bread and butter pudding when soaked in a thick custardy sauce. This recipe is really easy and we’ve been making it with our pre-school CookieTots this week – we even made our own butter to spread on our buns!
Hot Cross Bun Pudding (serves 4)
- 50g soft butter
- 6 hot cross buns, halved and cut diagonally across
- 1 tbsp each of raisins & juicy sultanas
- ¼ tsp grated nutmeg (mind your fingers)
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 350 ml milk
- 50 ml double cream
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 25g sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven 355°F/180°C/Gas 4.
Spread each hot cross bun thickly with real butter and cut into 4 diagonals. Cover the base of a lightly greased pie dish with overlapping triangles of bun pieces, butter side facing the sky. Lightly sprinkle with a little nutmeg, cinnamon and a few raisins and sultanas. Repeat this layer one more time or until the dish is filled and top with a last sprinkling of dried fruit.
In a saucepan gently heat the milk and cream, taking care not to boil.
In a large bowl beat the eggs with 3/4 sugar and vanilla extract until light, airy and pale in colour. Pour the warm milk over the eggs and continue beating until all the milk is added.
Pour the egg mixture slowly through a sieve, evenly over the buns until all the liquid is added. Gently press the surface with your hand to push the buns into the liquid. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the surface then leave to one side for 30 minutes.
Bake the pudding in the hot oven for 40 - 45 minutes, until the surface is golden brown and the pudding well risen and the egg is set. Serve hot with lashings of thick double cream.
Easter wouldn’t be the same without Simnel cake and I always use my Nana’s recipe with a few child friendly modifications. Firstly I prefer making muffin sized cakes rather than 1 big one and when my children were little I made them hunt for the mini chocolate eggs to put on top!
Simnel Cake (makes 12)
- 250g mixed dried fruits
- grated zest and juice 1 medium orange
- 175g softened butter
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 300g SR flour
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 5 tbsp milk
- 175g marzipan
- 200g icing sugar
- 2 tbsp orange juice for mixing
- Lots & lots of chocolate mini eggs (well it is Easter)!
Preheat the oven to fan 180C/ 160C/gas 4.
Tip the fruit into a bowl, add the zest and juice and microwave on medium for 2 minutes (my Nana used to soak her fruit for 1 hour). Line 12 deep muffin tins with paper muffin cases.
Beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, spices and milk until light and fluffy (I use a wooden spoon but you can make things easy with a hand held mixer). Stir the fruit in well.
Half fill the muffin cases with the mixture. Divide the marzipan into 12 equal pieces, roll into balls, then flatten with your thumb to the size of the muffin cases. Put one into each muffin case and spoon the rest of the mixture over it. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until risen, golden and firm to the touch. Leave to cool.
Beat together the icing sugar and orange juice to make icing thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Drizzle over the muffins and top with a cluster of eggs. Leave to set and eat on the day of making.
HAPPY EASTER BAKING!