If one thing marks the coming of Easter, it’s the smell of fruit and spice filling kitchens around the city. A number of Sydney bakers and makers are now taking the classic flavours and putting inventive spins on them. If you’re a fan of hybrid desserts you’re in for a real treat this year. Here are some of our favourite traditional and non-traditional Easter desserts.
Black Star Pastry
While Black Star Pastry is famous for its delicately layered cakes, it takes hot cross buns to a new level. They are dense with fruit and spice and are covered in a sticky frankincense syrup. These buns are also 100 per cent vegan.
Sonoma has been serving its “Not Cross Buns” since 2013. Marked with an “S” instead of the typical cross, they’re filled with sultanas and cranberries and, this year, for the first time, are glazed with orange oil. They’re available in all Sonoma stores until Easter Sunday. “We only run them in the three weeks leading up to Easter (rather than from December like the supermarkets), to keep people excited about hot cross buns,” says the head baker, Jordan Miller.
Located inside Tramsheds, Dust has decided to keep things traditional this Easter. The buns are filled with sultanas and candied orange and use flour that is ground on-site, which retains more flavour and nutrients. Dust is also baking a special double-chocolate-and-hazelnut hot cross bun. Both will be available in store until Easter.
Brickfields’ take on the classic is spiced with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. This year it has upped the fruit density to include cranberries, currants and sultanas. Head baker Simon Cancio says what sets them apart is the use of a sourdough starter. “It takes us a few weeks to develop the right recipe each year and get into the swing of it,” says Cancio. They’ll be available in the Chippendale store as well as at markets in Marrickville, Orange Grove, Potts Point, Manly and Frenchs Forest until Easter Monday.
Bourke Street Bakery’s Hot Cross Loaf
Bourke Street Bakery’s supersized, hot-cross loaf is about the size of a regular six-pack of buns, so you can cut a thick slice out of it. The bakery uses a recipe of orange peel and spice-soaked currants for the classic version. This year it is also introducing a new hot-cross loaf filled with pockets of soft Belgian chocolate and cranberries. They are available at all stores (Alexandria, Banksmeadow, Barangaroo, Kirrawee, Marrickville, Neutral Bay, Newtown, North Sydney, Parramatta, Potts Point and Surry Hills) until Easter Monday.
Gelatissimo’s Gelato Easter Bun
The gelato sandwich is a simple yet delicious invention. If you can wedge gelato between two cookies, then why not use a hot cross bun? From Easter Saturday (for a limited time only), all Gelatissimo stores will be selling Gelato Easter Buns. All you have to do is choose which flavour to sandwich; we think almost any would make a cracking combination.
Brookyln Boy Bagels’ Hot Cross Bagels
Brooklyn Boy Bagels’ Easter special is inspired by the classic New York-style cinnamon and raisin bagel. It uses raisins and aromatic spices to bring the bagel closer to the flavours of the bun. As for the cross, Brooklyn Boy’s founder Michael Shafran says, “This year we’re using cream-cheese icing, which makes them a bit more decadent.” They’ll be available at markets across Sydney.
Smoking Gun Bagels have also created a hot cross bagel dense with local dried fruit and spices. It's best served warm and lathered with butter or cream cheese.
Mak Mak’s Hot Cross Macarons
Mak Mak is bringing its hot-cross-bun-flavoured macaron back this year. This light and chewy macaron combines the classic spiced flavours of the bun with a rum-and-raisin buttercream. The macaron/bun hybrid is also entirely gluten free. It’s available at Mak Mak’s Newtown store or online for delivery.
Shortstop’s Hot Cross Doughnut
Shortstop has taken the hot cross bun and transformed it into what it does best: doughnuts. These Easter specials use spiced, yeast-raised dough, dense with Brandy-soaked dried fruit. They’re fried, glazed with honey and topped with a cinnamon-sugar cross. The doughnuts are available in Shortstop’s Barangaroo store or for online delivery until Easter Monday.
Ms Peacock’s Hot Cross Bun Chocolates
Imagine a hot cross bun in the form of fine chocolate. That’s exactly what Ms Peacock’s Chocolates (handmade in Sydney and delivered Australia-wide) has created. Inside a milk chocolate shell is a Cointreau-infused sultana, caramel, and a spiced chocolate ganache. A white chocolate cross on top completes it. The chocolates are available in limited supply online.