Hot cross buns are always a sign that autumn and cooler weather has arrived in the Southern Hemisphere so my thoughts go to hearty warm puddings.
I could not wait for Easter and cooler weather to create this alternative to the traditional bread and butter pudding and added apples to give it depth of flavour and texture. Luckily some stores sell hot cross buns for some time after Easter, but if you want be assured of a mid-winter treat, put a few packets into the freezer! Or if you ever find that you have stale hot cross buns, this is a perfect use for them.
You can play around with the recipe by adding a handful of dried sultanas, raisins, chopped dates or cranberries. Added texture can be achieved by adding chopped nuts or slivered almonds.
Pears will be a delicious alternative to apples, just make sure that you use a firm variety. Then additional almonds will be great.