Choc-cherry hot cross buns
An Easter staple, hot cross buns are a spicy, delicious treat. But as much as we appreciate the traditional version, we think our buns with a chocolate cherry twist are even better. Serve them toasted with a sliver of nut butter for afternoon tea, or pack them for lunch – they’re perfect either way. They take around 25 minutes to prepare, plus 12 hours dehydrating time, and you’ll need a high-speed blender, dehydrator, non-stick sheet and a piping bag to make them.
Makes 18 buns
65g psyllium husk
200g Brazil nut pulp
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
70g flax (linseed) meal
150g coconut sugar
2 pinches of Himalayan pink salt
165g chopped medjool dates
1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus extra for glazing
220ml filtered water
80g sour cherries
35g dried cranberries
100g Pana Chocolate Raw Cacao, broken into chunks
For the chocolate cross
120g cashews, soaked
2 tablespoons filtered water
2 tablespoons cacao powder
In a bowl, combine the psyllium, Brazil nut pulp, spices, vanilla seeds, ax (linseed) meal, coconut sugar and salt. Ensure there are no clumps in the mixture. Pulse the dates in a high-speed blender until they form a chunky paste (approximately five seconds).
Add the maple syrup, filtered water and date mixture to the dry mix and massage together with your hands until combined. Continuing to use your hands, fold through the sour cherries, cranberries and chocolate chunks.
Form the mixture into balls of approximately three tablespoons each, and place them on a non-stick sheet, leaving a few centimetres/an inch between each. Using a pastry brush, glaze each bun with maple syrup (not too much – they shouldn’t be dripping).
To make the mixture for the chocolate cross, blend the cashews, water and cacao powder until smooth. Using a piping bag with a small nozzle, pipe the mixture into a cross onto the top of each bun. Dehydrate the buns at 40°C (104°F) for at least 12 hours.
Who doesn’t love the combination of fruit and nut? A little bit chewy, a little bit crunchy, and with a delicious sweet hit, especially when it’s covered in Pana Chocolate! This recipe allows you to create two different bars, depending on how you mould the mix. For a free-form look, just dip the bars in chocolate. If you’d prefer a more polished finish, you can line a chocolate mould and use the mix as a filling.
They only take about ten minutes to make; we recommend you make them using four 12 × 3 cm (43⁄4 × 11⁄4 in) moulds.
For a different method of presentation, line the moulds with half the melted chocolate and set in the fridge. Once set, add your seeded nut mix, then pour the remaining chocolate on top and return to the fridge. When the chocolate has set, knock out the bar.
Makes 4 bars
15g sour cherries, chopped
13 almonds, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 dried apricots, finely diced
45g bar of Pana Chocolate Raw Cacao, broken into pieces
Combine all the ingredients except the chocolate in a small bowl and mix them together with your fingers.
Press the mixture evenly into the moulds (the fruit should help bain-marie the nuts and seeds to stick together).
Freeze the mixture for 30 minutes to make it easier to pop out of the mould. Melt the chocolate slowly over a bain-marie. Remove the bar mixture from the moulds and, using a fork, dip the bars into the melted chocolate.
Tap the fork against the side of the bowl to remove any excess chocolate. Place the bar on a tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate until the chocolate has set.
'Pana Chocolate, The Recipes' by Pana Barbounis (Hardie Grant, £16.99). Photography © Armelle HabibReuse content