I’m always intrigued to see what Heston’s got up his sleeve at Waitrose. I don’t always love every boxed offering of his that hits the shelves, but more often than not, his nod towards different flavour combinations gets my curiosity going during the supermarket shop. His past experiments have included steak, ale and kombu pie (which didn’t taste all that unusual to me), mustard ice cream (much tastier than you think it will be), and his Royal wedding trifle (very different, and very easy to keep eating!).
What I love most about Heston’s food, is his knack of putting the spotlight on particular flavours. Take these Earl Grey & Mandarin Hot Cross Buns. They look inviting enough, with their bigger brioche proportions lending them a look that’s fat with enticement. They smell very fragrant too when you pull them out of the packet. But the proof is always in the pudding, and to be honest, I just expected them to be good hot cross buns. Into the toaster they went (a low setting is a must - you really don’t want to ruin these little gems). Out they popped, and I got quick with the butter knife, slathering a generous amount over their golden tops.
Then I sat down with Heston’s hot cross buns and a cheeky cup of tea. The bite of hot cross bun was very good, but it only really packed its punch when I went to sip my tea. My tea tasted amazing! Heston is a clever Easter bunny. It must have been the Early Grey-soaked sultanas, golden sultanas, California raisins and Chilean flame raisins that did it. And they did it well. What a happy marriage these buns and a brew are. If you don’t rush out and buy them, I really won’t mind because it means more hot cross buns for me.
To balance the overall taste, a blend of orange zest, mandarin and bergamot extracts and orange pieces have been added to complement the Earl Grey soaked plump juicy mixed fruits. “For a bit of extra indulgence we have added even more fruit to the traditional hot cross bun and before adding, we soaked the fruit in Earl Gray tea giving a subtle fragrance to the bun,” says Heston Blumenthal says of his latest concoction.
Well, it was a genius move Heston. A genius move.
Heston from Waitrose Earl Grey & Mandarin Hot Cross Buns hit shelves on February 20th, and cost £1.59 for a twin pack.
Tip: Slice each bun in half, toast, adorn with butter and consume with sips of good tea in between. It will blow your tiny taste buds’ minds!
Written by: Helenka Bednar