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Berwick, North Northumberland: Food-Travel-Culture-Community

Hot cross roll-up Easter riff

I’m celebrating my love of the food columns and supplements in The Guardian by trying to cook at least one recipe from each issue of Guardian Feast in 2021. Find out a bit more about that here.

I love Easter. It’s so optimistic. After the drab winter dark, the idea of new life becomes tangible. There is no denying the shoots and buds and seeds unfurling, blossoming and reaching for the light.

This year it’s even more poignant as we lick our wounds and shuffle warily and wearily towards the possibility of a lockdown-free future.

Nature’s on the move

And there’s food.

The youngest daughter has already placed an order for homemade hot cross buns this week; the eldest pines for the spiced, moist seasonal buns available from GAIL’s Bakery down south. Will they, she wonders, still be available when she finally returns to her London HQ post-Easter?

The idea of hot cross buns as roulade is genius. Liam Charles’ hot cross roulade in Issue No.167 of Feast is a reconstruction rather than a deconstruction – a good thing in our book. Sweet, zesty, creamy, spiced – what more could you want?

I earnt my roulade spurs with my take on Ottolenghi’s chocolate and coconut mochi roulade a couple of weeks back, so Liam’s recipe was an opportunity to join the roll of honour. The recipe is easy-peasy and straightforward to follow.

I was fortunate that a friend had given me a jar of homemade lemon curd a week or so back, and The Husband had picked up a pot of mascarpone (ever optimistic that something sweet might miraculously form out of it) last time he was on supermarket duty. I didn’t have a swiss roll tin 27cm by 40cm and thought (foolishly as it turns out) that it would be fine to gently scrape the foamy frothy cake mix into one a bit smaller. A bit of oven-gazing and whimpering à la Great British Bake Off, a quick slice round the edges of the overspill, and we were good to go.

Liam suggests soaking the raisins (I used sultanas) in spiced rum. It’s a good call. As Master Chef’s Monica Galetti might say: it elevates the whole cake. I’m more of a ‘smear it on’ kind of gal, but I was even tempted to get out my piping bag and have a go at Liam’s ‘kisses’ along the top of my roulade. I had cream to spare despite being pretty generous with filling and topping.

Like most roulades, this is rich, sweet licks. It’s also clever. The ‘bun’ element of the roll has a distinctly enriched dough, slightly chewy mouth feel to it – a perfect foil to the melting, creamy, richness of the filling. The citrus tang is delivered by the orange zest in the cake and lemon curd in the cream with the nutmeg and cinnamon rounding up the hot cross bun riff. The eldest daughter and I found it on the sweet side, I’d add a bit more nutmeg if I made it again. The Husband was very happy with the levels of sweet and cream. Of course he was.

My take on Liam Charles’ hot cross roulade

Original recipe:

Liam Charles – hot cross roulade

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