*I still haven't quite forgiven the branch for not stocking their love life! Turkey sarnie at Christmas, of which I heard great things.
All of Waitrose's Hot Cross Buns are on a 2 for £2.50 offer at the moment, (the Heston Buns are £1.89 on their own) so I chose the aforementioned cherry buns and some mini sticky toffee buns -also a new 2016 Easter addition.
Heston's Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns
As you may recall I'm not a huge fan of Mr Blumenthal, something I mentioned when reviewing his Toffee Apple Cider, but the idea of two British classics combined in seasonal carb-heaven sounded just to good an opportunity to miss. I have an affinity towards anything Cherry Bakewell and so I was intrigued to discover how well Heston had managed to amalgamate the flavours.
'Cross a hot cross bun with flavours of a bakewell tart and you get something deliciously different.'
Big promises there Mr B. The buns were pretty enormous -I'd guess a third bigger than regular versions- with clearly defined crosses on top. I was going to toast one half and try the other half cold, but before I knew it I'd popped both under the grill and slathered them in butter. Oops.
The buns felt heavy (they're almost 100g each) but were surprisingly light and fluffy. They reminded me of Brioche, as the same butteriness shone through, giving the buns a luxurious, artisinal quality.
My first bite heralded a strong almond hit, with a delicious marzipan-like taste that was simply divine. The likeness to a Bakewell tart stopped there though unfortunately, it seems I hit the jackpot with my first mouthful and the rest of the bun was comparatively lacklustre. My disappointment was explained when I read the ingredients list: almonds make up only 2% of the bun and cherries 3%. I can't help but think that these buns could have been improved by the addition of a cherry jam swirled throughout; I had added some blueberry jam (I hadn't got any cherry unfortunately!) to the second half and found it much more enjoyable.
Sticky Toffee Mini Hot Cross Buns
From one size extreme to the other! These mini hot cross buns were quite cute, and were a similar size to M&S' mini mocha version. There were plenty of plump looking raisins and sultanas to be seen, which pleased me considering M&S chose to omit the fruit altogether.
This time I managed to hold back from toasting both halves, and grilled just one. I covered both sides in butter as per the serving suggestion and got stuck in.
Again, Waitrose didn't disappoint with the texture of these buns. They were also soft and fluffy despite their size. I was met with a lovely fruity taste with the first half, but the melted butter overwhelmed the flavours and I couldn't detect the toffee element.
Onto the second (non-toasted) half, and I hoped that the toffee pieces would prove easier to find, but -alas!- there was none to be found. I checked the ingredients, which claims that they make up 8% of the buns, but I think I must've chosen a dodgy specimen because I couldn't find any. None. Nada. I successfully found the date pieces however, which make up 6%, and they added a lovely gooey fruitiness to the buns.
Don't get me wrong, again these buns tasted wonderful, it's just that they weren't very true to their description.
These hot cross buns are yummy seasonal offerings from Waitrose. I loved the idea of them, it's just a shame that the flavours weren't as pronounced as they could have been. Texturally they are perfect, and much better than M&S's horribly dry 'Cherries & Berries' hot cross buns -which I suggest you steer clear of!
Waitrose also make a delicious sounding Cherry Bakewell Granola, but I'm a bit concerned now as to whether that would be lacking in flavour too. Have you tried it? If so, what do you think? Also, have you tried any wonderful Hot Cross Buns this year? Please do leave me a comment with your thoughts and suggestions!