Easter eggs

Easter dessert recipe ideas

By BBC Maestro

Whether you’re hosting a gathering of friends and family and looking for a showstopping Easter treat that’s sure to impress, or you’re searching for ideas that the kids will love helping with over the holidays, you’ve come to the right place. 

Keep reading for our top Easter dessert recipes to celebrate this special weekend.

Hot cross buns

What Easter would be complete without hot cross buns? Although buns marked with a cross date back to pre-Christian times, it’s thought that this springtime staple – as we know it today – was first made in the 14th century by a monk in St Albans who distributed them to the poor on Good Friday.

Traditionally made with spices, sultanas and orange peel, and finished with a cross on the top, today hot cross buns come in a wide variety of flavours. From banoffee to salted caramel, put your own spin on this quintessential Easter recipe with whatever flavours you fancy.

Our hot cross bun recipe by Richard Bertinet uses spiced rum for a little added kick. Simply serve them warm with butter for a laid-back Easter brunch, add lashings of jam or marmalade, or even top them with ice cream and chocolate sauce for a decadent end to your Easter feast.

Richard Bertinet's hot cross buns

Easter egg rocky road

If you have more Easter eggs than you know what to do with, why not give Easter egg rocky road a go? It’s a super simple recipe that the whole family can get involved in as it doesn’t involve any baking at all.

Enjoy with a cup of tea or serve after your Easter meal. They’ll even keep in an airtight container – if you can manage not to eat them all at once!

Pistachio soufflé

Spongey and delightfully nutty – this pistachio soufflé recipe from French chef Pierre Koffmann will have you drooling. Made using a pistachio crème pâtissière (a creamy pistachio paste) and served with cream or ice cream, it’s the perfect treat for those who like a light dessert with rich flavours. Even better, they take under 15 minutes to cook.

Pierre Koffmann's Pistachio soufflé

Simnel cake

Simnel cakes have been around since medieval times. Originally associated with Mothering Sunday, it’s now more commonly eaten on Easter Sunday. Simnel cakes are traditionally decorated with 11 balls of marzipan on top, said to symbolise the 12 apostles minus Judas Iscariot.

It’s a good option if you’re a fan of Christmas cake as this fruitcake has similar flavours but is generally lighter and airier – making it ideal for the warmer weather and longer days. Want to do some traditional Easter baking? Simnel cake is the perfect choice for you. This recipe takes around 30 minutes to prepare and 2.5 hours to bake and is sure to fill your home with the sweet, rich scent of marzipan and candied fruit.

Babka buns

Part bread, part cake – but fully delicious. Babka comes from the Jewish communities of Poland and Ukraine and derives from a Polish Easter cake called ‘Baba’, which translates as ‘grandmother’. This cake is tall and cylindrical, which resembles a grandmother’s long skirt – the supposed inspiration behind the bun’s name.

The recipe made its way to the USA, where non-traditional ingredients like chocolate were added, and the form shifted into the braided bread we know today. Like hot cross buns, bakers have added their own flair to the basic recipe over the years. You can throw in anything you like, most commonly pistachios and walnuts to give the dough some crunch and complement the chocolate, but some people prefer a savoury babka with fillings ranging from ricotta cheese to caramelised onions.

Our babka bun recipe from Richard Bertinet stays on the sweet side and is served as individual buns rather than a loaf. They make the perfect Easter morning treat with a coffee or are delicious when served warm after Easter lunch.

Richard Bertinet's Babka bun recipe

Rhubarb fool

The notion of no chocolate at Easter might seem criminal to some – but if you fancy something lighter after your roast, then these fools will do the trick. What’s more, rhubarb is in season in April, so you can make the most of fresh, local produce for a more sustainable Easter lunch.

Carrot cake

If you’re looking for a dessert that’s both comforting and packed with flavour, this vegan carrot cake recipe could do just the trick. Infused with warm spices and apple sauce, and topped with a nutty cream frosting, this recipe makes for a delicious treat. Even better, if there’s any left, you can save a slice for the next day to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee.

There are a million different Easter treats you could choose to make. Whether you want to go with the chocolate theme or opt for something fruity or nutty, hopefully, these dessert ideas give you some ideas to get started.

Of course, you may be more about the savoury and are more focused on choosing wine to go with your lamb or how to make the perfect fondant potatoes, rather than sweet treats. In that case, you might want to check out our online cooking courses. There you’ll find plenty of sweet and savoury recipes alike from top chefs to help you cook up a storm at Easter and beyond. 

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