Posts Tagged ‘the hunt for the perfect easter bun’

HCB Comparo, 2017 Edition

I wasn’t planning on doing this, honest. But since Easter was such a long way away from the indulgence fest known as Christmas, and the supermarkets just happened to start baking these pretty much on Boxing Day… I ended up eating just a few. Then of course, I had to take a photo, and after that I might as well keep looking for my favourite bun of all time.

Sonoma Not Cross Buns:

Sonoma not cross bun

Love this. By not putting a cross on the bun, all and sundry from all religious denominations can eat it. First bun I ate cold, I couldn’t stop raving about it. OK, so the ‘s’ was a bit tough to eat, but the aroma, I couldn’t stop inhaling it. I think it was the orange glaze. The fruit had been soaked in possibly earl grey tea. The second bun I ate warm after heating in the microwave. There was a very intense cinnamon aroma. The bread had a ‘dough-y’ texture. Fruit mix included orange peel.

$3.50 Each, $19 for six.
Sonoma Bakery Cafes @ Alexandria, Bondi, Glebe, Paddington, Rosebay, Waterloo, Woollahra.

Stoneground Bakery:

Stoneground bakery HCB

Available in blueberry (slightly blue cross), raspberry and white chocolate (pink-ish cross), and “normal” fruit. I bought the latter, and probably didn’t eat it at its best. Overnight in my fridge turned it rock hard. Even after microwaving it, the bun was just ‘meh’. I couldn’t remember any fruit apart from the sultanas.

$2.20 each, $9 for six.
Stoneground Bakery in Annandale and Hunters Hill.

Zumbo’s Fruit HCB:

Zumbo HCB

I had to check my records (blog) to work out if I had tried the Zumbo HCB in the past. Turns out no, I had only tried the chocolate version. This was heated up in the microwave. I got a slightly odd scent above the cinnamon note that I couldn’t quite place. Too much yeast?

This year I tried again the chocolate version, it seem less intense that four years ago; more of a ‘cocoa HCB’ rather than a dense chocolate mudcake.

$2.20 Each, $12.50 for six.
There are Zumbo stores in Rozelle, Star City (Pyrmont), QVB (Sydney City).

Boon HCB:

Boon HCB courtersy of Boon Cafe

Photo courtesy of Boon Cafe Instagram. I’ve been here several times checking out the baked goods, and suddenly there was a hot cross bun. Buttery flavour with a sweet glaze. The cross has a nice chew texture. Made with spelt flour!
Boon Cafe, 425 Pitt Street Haymarket.

Campos Coffee HCB:

Campos coffee HCB

I couldn’t resist, the buns were so enormous and a glossy dark chocolate brown with the glaze. The cross marked ontop was a bit tough to eat. High on the cinnamon factor. We spied a little orange peel and a little red cranberry (or possibly currant). Very buttery flavour.

$3.50 Each, $19 for six.
Campos Coffee, 193 Missendon Road, Newtown 2042.

So for 2017, I have to say that the Sonoma HCB with lots of glaze, eaten cold was my favourite. I could not stop inhaling that lovely scent, or gobbling up the buns.

HCB Smackdown, 2014 edition

Although the supermarkets seem to stock hot cross buns year ’round, I try to restrict my intake to just the easter period. Some places seem to think that if “spicy fruit is good, adding chocolate makes it better”. Bleeurgh. I disagree.

Brasserie Bread:

Brasserie Bread HCB

Having gone and looked at more bees, I was driving across town and remembered the existence of the Allpress coffee store on Epsom Road in Roseberry, but *also* that they stock bread from their sister store Brasserie Bread. I got there just before closing, and grabbed a soy coffee and a pack of six original hot cross buns for $17.20.

Reportedly made with Herbies “fragrant sweet spices” which includes rose petals, there is no glaze. I can see little currants and the dough is of a darker colour.

To him: Toasts well, and doesn’t crumble when buttered.
To me: unfortunately, unremarkable.

street: 58 Epsom Road, Zetland, Sydney NSW 2017
phone: 61-2-8198-4440
web: http://au.allpressespresso.com/allpress-roastery-cafes/sydney-roastery-cafe/

On the same cross town journey to find my new yoga mat (looking for a yoga store that was there about 10 years ago), I stumble across the bake bar.

the bake bar ($3 ea):

Bake Bar HCB

There is a gorgeous little jumble of glossy glazed hot cross buns on the counter. I buy two. I think my lack of lunch and sugar crash from three cakes at morning tea may have affected my judgement. I can’t remember the spices – there were some – but the bun itself is very moist with lots of fruit. The glaze doesn’t have spices, but it appears to be based upon honey rather than a simple sugar syrup. The HCB are organic.

To him: Toasts well, and doesn’t crumble when buttered. His favourite.
To me: yummy! Also, see earlier disclaimer.

street: 67 Frenchmans Road, Randwick, Sydny NSW 2031
phone: 61-2-8021-0728
web: https://www.facebook.com/Bakebarrandwick

Once again, the Good Living liftout (now re-monikered “good food”), did a piece on the best hot cross buns around Sydney.

This is the one that got me all excited:

Sweetness the Patisserie:

Share from Pixlr

Sweetness were due to make an appearance at Castle Hill Markets, but were unfortunately unable to bring some to the markets for me. So after querying colleagues who live around that area – and finding that none of them were likely to make a trip to Epping that weekend, I wrangled a special journey.

The smell of cream buns filled the car. The glaze has got a citrus tang, the bun tastes buttery with a dryish texture but not overly spicy. The cross has been applied across each set of 3×2 buns. The cross itself is almost like a lolly – it’s got a sweet crispy texture. It’s not just a dough mixture. I spot sultanas, currants, and bitter orange peel.

I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know how much these cost. I was so excited about getting buns, that all I can remember is… rocky road + 1 dozen buns = $29 ish. rocky road, hazelnut brittle + 1 dozen buns = $56 ish

To him: Crap. Crumbles when toasted and buttered. When are you next going to Randwick?
To me: I could have a winner here..

street: 38 Oxford Street, Epping, Sydney NSW 2121
phone: 61-9829-3800
web:http://sweetness.com.au/

Delicia:

Delicia HCB

A late contender, also purchased as part of a special journey based upon a “hot rumour”. On Saturday, these guys had sold out by 1pm, so a special weekday trip was made.

Smells yeasty, dough is speckled with spice, and I can also taste the grittiness of it in my teeth. Not much fruit. I think I found a juicy moist sultana, possibly soaked in liquid before baking. The bun is slightly gummy but not as moist as that from the bake bar. The cross is fat and white.

Him: I didn’t let him near this one, because I only had one. But I toasted half – and it crumbled to bits when you tried to butter it. I don’t think he would have liked it.
Me: Surprised by the lack of fruit. I don’t think the spice was that prominent apart from the gritty taste, but there was a nice aroma when I toasted them.

street: 298 Willoughby Rd, Naremburn, NSW 2065
phone: 61-2-9438-1330
web: http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/70/1522388/restaurant/Sydney/Willoughby/Delicia-Naremburn

For my future reference, here is the Epicure article for the Melbourne contingent.

Verdict:This year, I think I preferred the HCB offerings from Sweetness, followed by that from the Bake Bar. Your mileage may vary.

Happy Pagan Festival Everybody!