Sunday, April 5, 2009

One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns!

As I've mentioned before, I love eating my way through London. On almost every visit, I manage to procure Hot Cross Buns from the grocery store. While this is not gourmet by any means, they're something I enjoy thoroughly for breakfast or a snack or just because. I can easily justify this layman's indulgence to myself with knowledge that even the grocery store variety of Hot Cross Buns in England is far better than any I've had in the States. Furthermore, in the US, these flavorful delights are only available a few weeks in the year (which might actually be part of the problem).

Since it has been two years (gasp!) from my last trip across the Atlantic, I have been eager for Hot Cross Buns to start showing up in my local grocery stores for Easter.

I try to have a grounded perspective on my expectations of US Hot Cross Buns by having clear memories of previous disappointments. However, I do get sad when I eat Hot Cross Buns in the States, and they simply don't taste as good as their name implies they should.

Central Market has a great bakery and is also my Houston source for many hard-to-find grocery items. Unfortunately, I don't think their bakery makes their Hot Cross Buns because they certainly don't live up to Central Market's usual tasty standards. While I will admit, they did satisfy my Hot Cross Bun craving to some degree, I found them lacking. The texture was dry, and there weren't enough pieces of fruit. It was disappointing that the only fruit were raisins, especially because they were also overly dry. While non-traditional (and not necessary for well-made Hot Cross Buns), the icing was the only saving grace. The iced crosses provided a nice level of sweetness and needed moisture to the buns.

Will I buy them again next year? Chances say that I will. But maybe I'll grow enough courage to try making my own instead. Only time will tell...

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