Slice the apples into thin wedges (I prefer the skin on)
Slice the hot cross buns into 1cm thick slices
Melt the butter, add the sugar, spices and water and stir to dissolve the sugar
Add the apple slices and allow the mixture to simmer for 5 minutes, until the aple just begin to soften and the mixture forms a rich caramel
Whisk the cream, milk, eggs and vanilla together
Dunk 2 thirds of the hot cross bun slices to the liquid and then transfer the slices to the baking dish immediately
Layer the apples, the caramel and half the zest over the apples
Dunk the remaining hot cross bun slices and layer these on top
Pour the remaining liquid over the surface and sprinkle with the remaining zest and 25ml sugar
Bake at 180°C for 25-30 minutes, until the surface has a golden crust and the custard has set.
Serve warm with a dollop of brandy laced cream or a scoop of home-made cinnamon and orange ice cream!