Searching for the Perfect Hot Cross Bun

May 6, 2011

As much as I appreciate their delicious and festive properties, I wouldn’t call myself a bona fide Hot Cross Bun lover. When I was younger I used to devour many a bun around Easter time, but they don’t tickle my fancy as much these days. I am not sure exactly why this is the case. I do enjoy them, yet I am not mad for them, as I know many others are.

This does not mean, however, that I do not enjoy a good bun every now and then. Seeing so many delightful homemade Hot Cross Buns across the blogosphere this Easter gave me great inspiration to make my own buns come next year. But for this year, 2011, I resolved to buy my buns. In doing so I was naturally encouraged to compare my purchases, and henceforth set off on search for the perfect Hot Cross Bun.

Ahhh but perfection is such a difficult title to bestow. Taste is very individual, and I am aware of many strong opinions when it comes to how a Hot Cross Bun should be.

Personally, I like a fluffy bun that is generously spiced (oh how I love cinnamon) yet contains only a small amount of fruit peel. And I like my buns to have a decent amount of dried fruit in them – juicy sultanas or raisins are a must, and less conventional fruit, such as figs, are also very welcome.

When it comes to eating Hot Cross Buns, I like to toast mine in the oven and serve them with light dairy spread. Preferably with a side of fruit and/or yoghurt, and a hot cup of tea or coffee.

This year, I tried three Hot Cross Buns (it sounds pitiful, doesn’t it. I’ll do better next year). Here they are…

Tartine Gourmet Foods and Catering – super light and fluffy, these buns were really delicious, despite not being particularly strong on the spices. I bought Ben and I one bun each, after visiting the High Street Armadale store. I wish I bought more…

Levito Organic Bakery – this bread is much loved by my family (along with their hot cross buns), but to me it tastes a little stale… and they were fresh. Personal taste, I suppose. I did appreciate the good amount of fruit, and the sultanas were delightfully juicy.

Baker D. Chirico – these buns were dense (almost too dense for my liking) and heavily spiced. Baker D. Chirico’s Hot Cross Buns are well-revered, and I can see why, they were really lovely. I picked mine up at Prahran Market. Alas, I am yet to visit Baker D. Chirico myself. I am very eager to do so, as I have heard countless rave reviews of their breads, pies and tarts.

My favourite would be the Tartine Hot Cross Bun, yet I would have liked it to contain more spice. It appears I am still searching for my personal Hot Cross Bun perfection, and therefore any recommendations are very welcome. I am already hungry for next Easter, and it has only just past. What is new?…

Heidi xo
  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) May 6, 2011 at 8:13 am

    oh they look so fluffy!

  • Michelle Chin May 6, 2011 at 9:04 am

    My favourite hcb would be the wholemeal ones. 🙂

  • Heidi May 6, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Lisa – they were indeed super fluffy!

    Michelle – yes, that's always a good goal, to find wholemeal ones. Where do you get yours from?

    Heidi xo

  • Lisa May 6, 2011 at 11:00 am

    You would have to come to Canberra for my recommendation and then have to go to the bakery in question The Flute in the middle of an industrial area, between 8 and 3 on a weekday and pay in cash.

    I think it says a lot about the Flute that they have all those restrictions, yet sell out of pretty much everything every day.

    I agree with your criteria, I think next year I may have to bit the bullet and do some baking.

  • Blithely Unaware May 6, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    It's such a shame HCB season is over 🙁 🙁 🙁 I want to make HCB ice cream for next year… it's on my to do list 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • chopinandmysaucepan May 6, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Looks great! The perfect hot cross bun is as good as the perfect butter to spread it on 🙂

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 6, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    I love super fresh HCB that aren't too overly baked. Also the best ones are the ones in the centre that have the really soft sides 😛

  • Heidi May 6, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Lisa – oh what a shame I'm not in Canberra around Easter time… maybe next year I will be. If I am, your recommendation is well noted 🙂 & yes, I agree, I will make some next year!

    Blithely Unaware – HCB ice-cream, wow, yes please!!

    chopinandmysaucepan – here here 😉 I do love my lower fat spread though. To me it tastes nearly as good as butter! Not French butter though, nothing beats that….*sigh*…

    Lorraine – yes, a soft inside is so dreamy 🙂

    Celeste – fabulous!! Thank you so much! I will definitely try the top ones next year, can't wait! The Babka bun sounds particularly appealing to me. Love this link!

    Heidi xo

  • Hannah May 6, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Sadly, I've never been a big fan of HCB! I hate mixed peel, and sadly don't really like squoodgy raisins either. Alas! Easter is hard…

  • The InTolerant Chef May 6, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    The coffee flavored ones from Bakers drlight smell so yummy, but I don't know if they taste as good 🙂

  • Heidi May 7, 2011 at 6:46 am

    Hannah – oh dear, it must be a tough time. Sorry to bring it up… 😛

    InTolerant Chef – mmm coffee flavoured sounds delightful! I think I need to take my tasting more seriously next year and get around a bit more 😉

    Heidi xo

  • Kath (My Funny Little Life) May 8, 2011 at 5:46 am

    I honestly believe that there is no such thing as perfection. At least not perfection that could be acquired. In the end, taste is a very subjective thing, as you said. This doesn't mean that it's wrong to pursue perfection, but it may not be perfection for everybody.

  • Chutneyandspice May 8, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Hi Heidi, what a lovely blog! I love hot cross buns too but won't be able to try any of the ones you recommend as I am in the UK! I was given a recipe to use up stale buns, a bit like bread and butter pudding if you have that in Australia? You put marmalade on each half of a bun, put them in an ovenware dish then cover with custard and bake ..so delicious! The tartness of the marmalade goes so well with the buns. I agree with you about fruit content – got to be high.

  • grace May 8, 2011 at 7:01 am

    soft, warm, fluffy, and just a wee bit sweet–that's how i like my hot cross bunnies. lovely.

  • Heidi May 8, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Kath – so very very true, well said 🙂

    Chutneyandspice – hello! and thanks for your lovely comment 🙂 yes, we do a bit of bread and butter pudding over here. We often have that British influence 🙂 your marmalade idea sounds lovely, thanks!!

    Grace – lovely indeed….. 🙂

    Heidi xo

  • Anna Johnston May 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Haven't really tasted a bought HCB that I love as much as homemade ones with lots 'n lots of fruit in them & then slathered with butter warm from the oven. Now that's living 🙂

  • Iron Chef Shellie May 8, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I have 2 packets in my freezer! 😀 😀 I think I'll have to make them even if it's not Easter…. all in the name of research 😉 x

  • Heidi May 8, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Anna – mmmm sounds divine!

    Michele – oh completely, I should do the same – research 😉

    Heidi xo

  • Carly Findlay May 8, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I made two delicious hot cross bun puddings. Recipes on my blog.

    I like Brumbies chocolate ones.

  • Heidi May 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Yes, my brother LOVES the chocolate ones. Thanks for reminding me about your pudding recipe, great idea!
    Heidi xo