There are many things I love about Easter: all the new-life symbolism, holidays, seeing family and friends, the first hint of Autumn weather, the Easter show, the Easter Sunday church service, the Easter-egg hunt and hot cross buns!
This Easter, Sydney had the special treat of hosting Prince William, Princess Catherine, baby Prince George and his cute little squishy baby cheeks. Sydney put on its finest Autumn weather for the occasion.
Here’s a couple of photos from my Good Friday walk, but unfortunately not of the royal family, who were on the other side of the harbour at the time.
And now to the big issue of hot cross buns. Last Wednesday I was in a mad rush so had to resort to Aldi to get my hot cross buns. I knew I would be super-busy on Thursday and I didn’t know if I would get a chance to get to Baker’s Delight or any other actual bakery by Good Friday, so Aldi it was.
As I rummaged through the Aldi hot cross bun bin, I came across bag after bag of “fruitless” buns. It was proving to be a fruitless task, until I finally found one sad little bag of “fruit” buns.
“Aldi hot cross buns are better than no hot cross buns on Good Friday.” I reasoned. Aldi is great at many things (such as cheap unknown brands from a parallel universe and dishevelled shelving), but hot cross buns are not one of them. I tried a bun on Wednesday night and it was squishy, yet bizarrely brick-like. How does that happen?
On Thursday I had a serendipitous moment and found myself in a position to go into Coles, where the buns, while not the best, are superior to Aldi’s. So I submitted to the call of the Coles choc chip hot cross buns. But when I got home, my mother was waiting with a tell-tale white paper bag. Bakery hot cross buns. “They’re from C’est Ci Bon”, she said excitedly. I was grateful. And on that note, grateful to be in a position to be comparing baked goods at all.
The next morning, Good Friday, I offered Spider Boy a hot cross bun. After a moment’s consideration, he said, “OK… as long as it doesn’t have those crosses on it… because they don’t taste very nice.”
He settled for his usual breakfast of “Vegemite toast with margarine – but not the butter melted.”
On Sunday as we were leaving church I asked my sister, Senorita Margarita about her buns: “Where did you get your hot cross buns? I hissed “Zumbo” she said, “a chocolate and cherry one”.
“How fantastic! Do they come in a six-pack?” I demanded. “No.” She looked incredulous. “They’re $2.50 each, I just got one!”
The closest I got to a Zumbo hot cross bun was a sneaky Zumbo hot cross bun macaron last week. It smelt like bread, specifically, hot cross bun bread. I don’t know how Mr.Zumbo does it. The inner texture was smooth, the shell was crumbly and light. It tasted like bread, sultanas, cinnamon, marzipan and citrus.
The Aldi buns remain in the freezer. “Maybe I could make a bread and butter pudding with them. How would I do that?” I asked Mum. “You’d need to make custard first” she said. Forget it. Not a custard fan. I really don’t want to make that.
So my Easter baking this weekend was the ninja-bread men from a baking set I’d bought as a stocking-filler for Spider Boy at Christmas. They weren’t hot cross buns, but they were pretty cross. That’s now our ninjas roll.
The result was more ninja-crunch than ninja-bread. Perhaps more zombie than ninja. But the fun was in the cookie-cutting and decorating! Just like play-dough, only crunchy.