RECIPES: Pair your hot cross buns with good wine this Easter

Hot cross bun pudding with Nutella and raspberries. Picture: Supplied

Hot cross bun pudding with Nutella and raspberries. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 1, 2022


Every year, the Friday preceding Easter Sunday is observed as Good Friday by the Christian community across the world. The day marks the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ at Calvary. On this day members of the Christian community attend church services and observe fasts.

But did you know that hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on this day? Each bun is decorated with a cross made from flour paste, which represents the cross on which Christ died. The spices in hot cross buns are said to represent the spices that were used to embalm Christ after his death.

If you know you will be having them and are unsure what to pair with them – why not try the wine? Below is a twist on traditional hot cross buns courtesy of Roodeberg and foodie Ilse van der Merwe of The Food Fox. Van der Merwe has created two delicious hot cross bun recipes with her signature twists to complement Roodeberg wines perfectly.

For the Roodeberg Classic Red Blend, she adds cardamom and dark chocolate to her classic, fluffy buns.

“The depth of favour and complex bitterness of the cardamom and chocolate really pair well with the wine’s smooth, aromatic fruity layers with hints of sweet spice and dark chocolate,” says Van der Merwe.

If you prefer a more simple yet equally delicious recipe, turn your store-bought hot cross buns into a stellar dessert with her Nutella and raspberry spin on the old faithful bread and butter pudding. It is a perfect combination with Roodeberg Classic Rosé. Van der Merwe says the fresh raspberries really pick up the berry notes in the rosé.

Hot cross buns with cardamom and dark chocolate

This recipe uses a stand mixer to make beautifully classic, fluffy hot cross buns. Omit the cardamom and dark chocolate chips if you prefer a more traditional bun.

Makes: 12 large buns


630g white bread flour, plus extra for kneading

150g caster sugar

10g instant yeast

7,5ml salt

10ml ground ‘mixed spice’

10ml ground cinnamon

4 cardamom pods, seeds ground with a pestle and mortar (husks removed)

60g butter, melted

375ml milk

1 extra-large egg

130g sultanas or golden sultanas

Zest of an orange, finely grated

80 –160g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

For the stripes or crosses

70g flour

75ml water

For the glaze

30ml smooth apricot jam

15 – 30ml water


In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and spices and mix well with the flat beater. Add the butter, milk, egg, sultanas, and orange zest and mix for another minute. Change to the dough hook, scrape the sides and continue to mix for 5 minutes. Add the chocolate chips and mix for 1 minute.

Turn the sticky dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead it into a smooth ball – adding a little more flour if necessary. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with cling wrap and leave to proof for 1½ hours. In the meantime, line a large deep roasting tray with greaseproof baking paper.

Turn out the dough and punch it down, then divide it into 12 equal parts (for large buns) or 20 equal parts (for medium), shaping them into smooth balls by pinching any edges together at the bottom. Flatten each ball slightly, then arrange it in the prepared roasting pan allowing some space in between for rising. Cover with cling wrap and leave to rise for 30 – 45 minutes until almost double in size.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180° C. When the buns are ready, mix the flour and water for the stripes, place in a piping bag with a thin nozzle/hole, then pipe those classic hot cross bun crosses, easing the batter lines into the dips between the buns. Bake at 180° C for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown and fully cooked. Leave to cool in the tins (don’t be tempted to eat them straight away, they need some time to settle otherwise they will seem undercooked).

Serve warm or at room temperature, or toasted, with lashings of butter (and optionally jam or honey).

Hot cross bun pudding with Nutella and raspberries

This easy recipe turns store-bought hot cross buns into a delicious warm dessert. For a more classic bread pudding omit the Nutella and spread the buns with butter and marmalade or raspberry jam before pouring over the custard.

Serves: 6


6 large hot cross buns

6 tbs Nutella (or butter and jam)

500ml fresh cream

250ml milk

90ml caster sugar

6 extra-large eggs

5ml ground ‘mixed spice’ or cinnamon

5ml vanilla extract

1 cup of raspberries, to serve

250ml cream, whipped, to serve (or a few scoops of vanilla ice cream)


Spray a medium-large rectangular deep baking dish with non-stick baking spray (it should be large enough to fit your buns snugly). Cut each bun horizontally into halves, then arrange the bottom halves in the dish. Spread the top halves (cut sides) with Nutella (or butter/jam) and set aside.

In a large jug, whisk the cream, milk, sugar, eggs, spice, and vanilla until well mixed. Pour half of the mixture all over the buns in the baking dish, then top with the prepared top halves.

Now pour the remaining half of the custard over the buns and leave to soak for 30 – 60 minutes, allowing the custard mixture to soften the buns. Preheat the oven to 160° C, then bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown on the edges and still a little wobbly in the middle.

Remove from the oven, leave to rest for 10 – 15 minutes. Serve warm with cream or ice cream and fresh raspberries.