Food

Recipe: Easter Treats – Hot Cross Buns, Frittata and Shortbread

Article by Leah Fleming March 29, 2018

We’ve rounded up our Easter favourites for the Bank Holiday weekend, that you can enjoy whether you’re celebrating Easter or not. They’re packed with seasonal flavours like citrus for the buns and shortbread, and spring greens in the frittata.

Gluten and dairy-free hot cross buns

Makes 8 buns

This hot-cross bun recipe is suitable for everyone if you’ve got a family with lots of different requirements. They’re even a little more indulgent, as we opted for a sweet icing cross rather than the traditional baked flour and water mix. Spend Good Friday making these and they’re bound to impress!

Ingredients:

For the buns

100-150g mixed fruit (depending on preference)
150ml orange juice
110ml almond milk (or any dairy-free milk)
80ml hot water
380g gluten-free plain flour
1½ tsp xanthan gum
2 tbsp dairy-free margarine or coconut oil, melted
2 tsp instant yeast
50g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cider vinegar
½ tsp vanilla extract
Apricot jam (optional, to glaze)

For the icing:

60g icing sugar
1 tbsp of almond milk (or any dairy-free milk)
A few drops of vanilla extract

Hot cross buns cooling on the rack

Method:

In a bowl, cover the mixed fruit with the orange juice. Gently heat in a microwave – only for around 30 seconds – then allow to cool while you prepare the dry ingredients.

Using an electric mixer (or by hand, if you’ve got the strength and patience!) mix together the gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, yeast, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, sugar and salt. 

Add the boiled water to the almond milk and stir gently to combine. Then pour the milk and water mixture into the dry ingredients. With your mixer on slow, add in the egg, melted margarine, cider vinegar and vanilla extract. Continue mixing for a good two minutes.

Take 30ml of the orange juice used to soak the mixed fruit and add this to the dough mixture. Drain the rest and then add the fruit to the buns. Then mix the dough for a couple of minutes.

Cover a tray with baking paper and divide the mixture into eight. It helps at this point to have a cup of warm water nearby – the dough is quite sticky but it’s much easier to shape with wet fingers.

Using a knife, cut a cross on the top of each bun. Cover the tray with a tea towel and put in a warm place to rise for about an hour. After the buns have risen, put them into a preheated oven at 230° for 25-27 minutes, until the tops are a nice golden colour.

Once the buns are cool you can brush them with melted margarine, or if you really want to go all out (which we did, of course) you can warm up some apricot jam in the microwave and use it to cover the tops of your hot cross buns.

For the icing, mix together all 3 ingredients, adding a little more icing sugar if the mixture is too runny or more milk if it’s too thick. You want it to be quite stiff so that it won’t run off the bun. When the buns are completely cool put the icing into a piping bag and use it to pipe a cross on top of each bun.

These hot cross buns are great freshly made or toasted the next day, but don’t leave them too long! As with most gluten-free foods, they are best eaten on the same day.

Easter Frittata cooking in the pan

Easter Brunch Frittata

Most frittata recipes require a ridiculous number of eggs which can put people off, as especially if you’re not feeding a crowd. This recipe is made in a smaller pan, so you can eat it all up across 2 or 3 meals and you’ll still have an egg left of your half-a-dozen. This recipe uses spring greens for a light Easter brunch, but you could even make it for dinner with a green salad and then have leftovers for a quick breakfast the next day.

Ingredients:

100g baby potatoes, sliced or diced
3 handfuls spinach
75g bacon, cubed
3 spring onions, finely sliced
5 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
50g cheddar, grated

 Method:

Boil the potatoes in a pan of salted water, which should take between 5 and 10 minutes depending on the size of the potato pieces. Add the spinach 2 minutes before the potatoes are cooked.

Fry the bacon until crispy in a little olive oil, preferably in a small non-stick pan. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a jug with the milk and cheddar. Season with black pepper. Preheat the grill to high. 

Add the spring onions to your frying pan, then when the bacon is crispy enough, pour the egg mixture into the pan and swirl around until evenly spread in the pan. Carefully add the spinach and potatoes into the egg.

Cook the mixture in the pan until the bottom is set when carefully lifted away with a spatula, then place the pan under the grill for about 2 minutes or until set on top.

Serve as a light brunch over the Easter weekend with a dressed green salad.

Easter shortbread

Makes 8 biscuits

By giving these classic biscuits a simple twist, they become an Easter weekend treat that’s really simple to make. It’s fun to decorate them too – you can buy all sorts of cute sugar decorations this time of year in the supermarkets like carrots, baby chicks and rabbits. Use whatever decorations you’d prefer and enjoy making them as much as eating them.

Ingredients:

125g unsalted butter, cubed
55g caster sugar
180g plain flour
zest of 1 orange/lemon
pinch nutmeg
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tube coloured icing, to decorate (I used yellow)

Method:

Put the butter, sugar and flour into a large mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour as you would making pastry until the ingredients are combined and beginning to come together.

Prepare a floured surface and turn out the shortbread mixture onto it. Add the zest, nutmeg and vanilla, then knead it all together until it is a smooth ball.  Wrap the dough into cling film and chill for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190℃ and line a baking sheet with parchment.

After it has chilled, roll the dough out on a floured surface to about 1 cm thick. Cut the dough into shapes with a cutter or make your own template using a piece of card and cutting round it with a knife. I used a circle cutter, but manipulated the shape to make it resemble an egg.

Place each shape onto the baking sheet and bake the shortbread for 15-20 minutes. Once completely cool, ice with your desired patterns (I made these ones look like Easter eggs).

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