Oh Heston, I do love your creativity. I know we don’t always agree about the end results, but your sense of foodie adventure always makes me smile. His new twist is on the seasonal Hot Cross Bun, where he has jazzed it up by adding mandarin and earl grey tea. This isn’t as weird as you might think. In Japan green tea is used to flavour all sorts of foods, and if you ever get the chance to try Green Tea Matcha Chiffon cake, for goodness sake do – it’s one of the greatest cakes known to man!
Anyway when the packaging came off these buns, the aroma of early grey lingered around them like there was a freshly brewed pot of tea lurking. Although you can’t tell from the picture the hot cross buns are almost twice as thick as any I’ve seen before and even when split our (bagel safe) toaster only just managed to squeeze them in. I only very lightly toast hot cross buns, but do like the flavour of them gently grilled. I added lashings of butter and tucked in. The flavour was quite different to what I had been expecting. The earl grey had died down and left a slight lemony bergamot flavour. The mandarin shone through really enhancing the other citrus tastes, and made these absolutely divine. It’s such a clever fragrant flavour, and it is so well balanced. The usual spices and raisins are still present and it complements them perfectly. If you have a sweet tooth you might be a little disappointed as these buns are more on the mature zesty side, but I still loved them. To say they are quite thick, they felt firm then melted in the mouth and tasted remarkable light. These buns are pure heaven, and I think they are some of the best hot cross buns I’ve ever tasted. Heston has tinkered with the regular hot cross bun flavour very mildly but the results are pure magic.