There’s a tradition in our family at Easter – it involves everyone standing at the top of a hill in Perthshire, freezing their hands off, says Graeme Pallister, chef patron of 63 Tay Street in Perth.
You see, for some unknown reason we’ve bypassed a leg of lamb in a warm kitchen for a chilly picnic in the April wind. It always seems to be windy on Easter Sunday and our walk always ends up with me hanging off the end of a picnic table bench, fighting with the kids for the least bashed boiled egg (and inevitably, losing!).
We return to this scenario year after year because I am a sucker for tradition and rolling eggs with my kids is one I’d happily do in any weather. However, I always make sure there is a special treat waiting for our return – hot cross bun bread and butter pudding.
Anyone who reads this column regularly will know I love my old fashioned comfort foods, and bread and butter pudding is one of my favourites. The version I remember from my childhood was made with white bread, crusts on and cooked in a metal tin with blue edging. Today, chefs have introduced everything from brioche and bananas to caramelised sauces and fresh vanilla pods. Originally a poor man’s pudding, it has now been deconstructed, cooked in individual pots and dare I say it, egg washed with the brush of modern day cooking pretention!
This Easter-themed one does a have a little of the modern day variation about it, but it’s still about using up what’s there – namely hot cross buns and Easter eggs (see my chef’s tip). Butter your buns and tear them into large chunks before lining them up round an ovenproof bowl. Mix milk, cream and sugar into a jug and pour the mixture over the buns – be generous with your liquid. Add a couple of dollops of butter to the top – you’ve burned off those calories climbing that hill remember. Pop it into the fridge to soak while you’re out freezing yourself to a chef-shaped icicle on a hillside.
When you return, pop it into a hot oven and 30 minutes later you’ll be enjoying an Easter treat that will beat any leg of lamb hands down. My kids love this, and all bad blood from the scrap over the best of the boiled eggs is forgiven as I dish it up from my old metal oven dish. Smiles all around as I pass my own family’s Easter tradition.
Buy a good quality vanilla ice-cream and crush Easter Egg chocolate or sweeties into it. Mix well and serve with the hot bread and butter pudding for an extra-sugar fuelled treat.