The ultimate luxury macaroni cheese for hot cross bun lovers! Fold pasta into this impossibly creamy cheese sauce and top off with crispy hot cross bun crumbs. Fans of savoury and sweet combos will find this irresistible.
1tspdried garlicor 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1tspEnglish mustard powderor Dijon mustard
1/4tspsaltor to taste
For the hot cross crumbs:
3shop-bought hot cross buns
3tbspolive oilor butter
10-15sage leavesor 1-2 sprigs rosemary
To make the hot cross crumbs
Break the hot cross buns up into rough chunks. Place them in to the jar of a blender or food processor. Pulse or blend until you have medium-coarse crumbs.
Heat the olive oil or butter in a pan set over a medium-low heat. Add the sage leaves or sprigs of rosemary. Sauté for a minute or two until the leaves begin to crisp up. A low heat will help release the natural aromas from the herbs.
Add the hot cross bun crumbs and continue to sauté over a medium-low heat until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes. Stir all the time to ensure the crumbs toast evenly and don't burn. You'll be able to hear when they're ready — a crispy clattering sound as you mix. Remove from the heat and transfer to a plate to cool.
For the mac and cheese
Toss the grated cheese with cornflour, English mustard powder, garlic and nutmeg.
Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based pan. Add the plain flour and cook, stirring all the time until it releases a slightly nutty aroma (don't let it brown), this should take about 2 minutes over a medium heat. Remove from the heat.
Whisk in the milk a little at a time until you have a smooth, lump-free mixture. It won't immediately look thick. Return to the heat and cook for 4-5 minutes, whisking all the time until slightly thickened. Once it comes to a very gentle simmer, switch the heat off again.
Add the cheese mixture and whisk continuously until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens further and becomes smooth and glossy. Taste and season with salt if necessary. How much salt you add depends on how salty your cheese is and your personal taste.
Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water, according to the packet instructions or until al dente (it should still have a little bite to it).
Fold the cooked pasta into the sauce. If it feels a bit too thick, add a little bit of the pasta cooking water to adjust the consistency.
Serve immediately topped with the crispy hot cross crumbs.
I like to use evaporated milk from a tin for my mac and cheese. It's been heat-treated so is more stable and produces a smoother sauce without as much risk of curdling on contact with the cheese. I also love the flavour and creaminess of cheese sauce made with evaporated milk.
Cornflour gives the mac and cheese a lovely glossy finish, as well as ensures the dish reheats better than if it were made with plain flour alone.
Toss the cornflour with the cheese for even distribution into the sauce. It's easier to add all the seasonings into the cheese mixture beforehand so you can just dump and go when making the sauce, too.
If using fresh garlic, add it to the plain flour and butter mixture. Cook it out before adding the milk.
If using Dijon mustard, whisk it in at the end, right before adding the pasta.
This Hot Cross Crumb Mac & Cheese reheats beautifully in the microwave. Keep the macaroni cheese and crumbs separate until you're ready to serve so the crumbs remain crunchy.