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Easter

Making and eating traditional hot cross buns is a serious affair.

Mass-produced buns that are spice-starved, low in fruit, with soft crusts, wrapped in plastic and stacked in piles at the end of the supermarket isle, just doesn't cut it.

You want your buns to be soft, fruity and spicy, slightly sweet, with golden crusts that are crisp and wonderfully sticky. If you bake them early in the morning on Good Friday, you want the fragrance of your buns to wake the sleepyheads from their beds, to gather the whole family around the kitchen-table for their Easter breakfast.

Easter biscuits lock the spicy flavour and taste of hot cross buns into a crunchy texture. As they will keep fresh for a few days and do not break easily, Easter Biscuits are great for Easter-weekend trips, picnics, and lunchbox treats.

This recipe is for the South African version of Easter Biscuits, which contains mixed peel and more spices than the New Zealand version in the Edmonds Cookery book.

The menu for Easter Sunday ought to be just as festive as a Christmas menu, and this traditional custard cake is just the thing for afternoon tea on Easter Sunday: not too rich, but delicious.

Chocolate hot cross buns, which are less spicy than normal hot cross buns, are popular in New Zealand. Although spice-free buns may be ideal for children that do not like spices and fruit, their flavour can be improved by adding just enough spice to compliment the chocolate, and this recipe does just that.

This recipe uses a bread maker.