I am usually quite bad at scheduling recipes for special occasions on the calendar and had no Easter recipe planned. So this Hot Cross Bun Ice Cream came about from a random flash of inspiration to make a dessert with some traditional Easter flavours. I love hot cross buns but have been so disappointed with the buns on offer from the major retailers this year. But in the same breath, I have not made any attempt to bake my own either.

Hot Cross Bun Ice Cream

Hot Cross Bun Ice Cream

I wanted the flavours of hot cross buns in a dessert form and my first thought is invariably ice cream. There were two options, an ice cream with the spicy notes of the buns or an ice cream with the actual bun in it. But it had to be special. I came across a recipe for Brown Bread Ice Cream from David Lebovitz and decided to replace the brown bread with hot cross buns.

Hot Cross Bun Ice Cream

Small pieces of the hot cross buns are coated in butter and muscovado sugar, baked until crispy and folded into a traditional custard ice cream base with some chopped chocolate chips and preserved clemengold pieces. I replaced some of the cream in the original recipe with milk as it is a rich dessert. The brandy is optional but I do think it adds a delicious layer of flavour to the ice cream.

It is so good. And even better when you top the scoops of ice cream with extra baked hot cross bun pieces. It is rich, indulgent and just delicious. Enjoy!

Hot Cross Bun Ice Cream

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Hot Cross Bun Ice Cream


  • For the caramelized hot cross buns:
  • 250g hot cross buns (about 4 -5)
  • 45g butter
  • 100g dark muscovado sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • For the ice cream custard:
  • 375ml full cream milk
  • 250ml cream
  • 130g light muscovado sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 250ml crème fraiche
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 15ml brandy (optional)
  • 100g dark or milk chocolate chips, roughly chopped
  • 4 preserved clemengold halves, syrup washed off and roughly chopped (or any other preserved mandarin)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Dice the hot cross buns into small, bite-sized pieces, just a bit bigger than a kernel of corn
  3. Heat the butter in a frying pan until it melts, then continue to cook until it starts to brown
  4. Stir in the bun bits, sugar and salt
  5. Cook for a few minutes while constantly flipping the pieces over to make sure they are covered in sugar
  6. Spread on the baking sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring a few times during baking, until the hot cross bun bits are well-toasted and a deep, dark brown colour
  7. Cool completely then store in an air-tight container until ready to use
  8. To make the ice cream, heat the milk, cream, sugar and salt in a saucepan to just below boiling
  9. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks
  10. Slowly pour some of the warm milk mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly
  11. Pour the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture
  12. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly while scraping the bottom of the saucepan until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon
  13. Pour the custard into a bowl with the crème fraiche and whisk until smooth
  14. Stir in the vanilla and brandy
  15. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled and then churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  16. Once churned, quickly fold in 2 thirds of the hot cross bun bits, all the chocolate and clemengold pieces and freeze until firm and ready to serve
  17. Serve with the remainder of the hot cross bun bits sprinkled on top
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