It’s Easter, and that creates an opportunity for Heston to add a new product to his Waitrose range. This year he has eschewed the delicious Ginger and Acacia Honey Hot Cross Buns and also the tasty Earl Grey and Mandarin version which are so 2012 and has come up with a new non-sensical flavour – Cherry Bakewell. It is hard to see why anyone thought this was a good idea and when I discovered them, a phrase that I usually find immensely irritating sprang to mind – Go home Heston, you’re drunk. I mean what have hot cross buns and Cherry Bakewells got to do with each other? They are totally different entities and their paths should never cross. What I normally admire about Heston is how he finds unusual ingredients and uses them to enhance the everyday – think kombu to season a pie, or vanilla in savoury dishes, but with these hot cross buns he is tapping into the zeitgeist for cross contaminating dessert flavours for no good reason, you can see it in things like, lemon meringue pie sweets, strawberry cheesecake frappucinos, Eton Mess Easter Eggs etc etc. I thought Heston was bigger than this, I was wrong.
So armed with prejudice and disgust and with my mind already made up, I set about trying Heston’s abominations. I opened the packet and a strong waft of almond came firing out as though I’d just opened a bottle of amaretto and poured it over marzipan. The hot cross buns were tall, light and almost muffin like (the same as all his previous versions) I cut one in half and stuck it in the toaster. I slathered it in butter and it looked pretty good, it was the fact that it tasted gross that I had the problem with. It was so overwhelmingly almondy in a manufactured almond essence type way that nothing else really got a look in. If the fruit was cherry you would never know because it just tasted of almond, the hot cross bun could have been made with ground unicorn horn flour and baked in an angels oven but you would never know because it just tasted of almond. This was a terrible idea to start with and poor execution just made it even worse.
Hot cross buns are supposed to mark the end of Lent and should use the spices that embalmed Jesus’ body, I’m no theologian but if Jesus was smothered in Cherry Bakewell in his final hours I’d be really surprised, as I’m sure would the people of Bakewell who didn’t invent it until a couple of thousand years later. I’m sorry Heston but this years efforts were an epic fail. Please try harder next time.
Heston from Waitrose Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns £1.39 for two
nb: the recipe includes palm oil – another fail!