Creating a hot cross bun that ticks every box is no easy feat.
From the fruit-to-spice ratio, the texture, the aromatic orange peel and the sticky but not sickly-sweet golden glaze... for most of us, mastering the humble Easter bun is often an art form best left to the pros. In a bid to scout out the city's finest (and save you resorting to a doughy and dense disaster) the Dish team decided to embark on the ultimate Easter feasting pilgrimage, to discover the bakeries that are so hot (cross bun) and currant, right now.
To ensure your Good Friday begins the right way, with the sweet aroma of freshly-baked buns wafting in the air, we've rounded up the nine most delicious hot cross offerings in the 09. We'll take a dozen of the below with a lick of maple butter any day.
1. Amano, Britomart
Head down to Auckland's Britomart to get your hands on one of their famed "not cross buns". We love the density, spice and delightfully doughy texture these buns offer. Amano's Easter treats are made with stout, boasting a beer-infused aroma and delicious depth of flavour. These buns are quite literally selling like hot buns, with the team busy baking one hundred extra buns each day just to keep up with demand. Be sure to order well in advance, to avoid missing out.
2. Little and Friday, Newmarket, Takapuna
Dubbed by many at Dish HQ as the "best buns around" Little & Friday's efforts are among the tastiest we've tried. Generous in size and finger-licking good, these big, beautiful buns are gorgeously sticky, lighter in colour and best enjoyed fresh out of the oven.
3. Wild Wheat, Mt Eden, Howick, Belmont
Form an orderly line, folks, Wild Wheat have nailed the currant-to-spice ratio, yet again. Pioneers of the great bun movement, it's little reason why this Auckland bakery has a devout local following. Wild Wheat continue to pipe their way to perfection (and to the top of our hot list) year after year.
4. Olaf's, Mt Eden
Olaf's famously fruity buns boast the perfect glaze. These buns are full of fruit peel with a light, fluffy consistency. We might actually start eating them for breakfast, lunch and tea. Please don't judge.
5. Daily Bread, Pt Chev
New kid on the block and making their doughy debut on our list, the team at Daily Bread do not mess around when it comes to delivering beautiful hot cross buns. Their unique sourdough buns are full of spice, laden with juicy raisins and created using a 600 year-old-starter. We wouldn't expect anything less from 22nd generation German baker and the brains behind the bun, Patrick Welzenbach.
6. 4&20, Remuera
When you combine espresso and hot cross buns, magic happens. The team at Remuera stronghold 4&20 Bakery boast some of the stickiest, fruitiest and most glorious buns in town – we're not ashamed to go for seconds. An indulgent combination of candied orange peel, apricots, sultanas and cardamom, consider this love at first bite.
7. Bread & Butter, Grey Lynn, Ponsonby, Milford
If only bun season lasted longer. Bread & Butter's burnt butter and spiced syrup glaze tops our list as the best in show this year. These light, fluffy and not overly fruit-filled buns are a great entry level or buffer bun for those who prefer a little less fruit and more spiced bun.
8. Scratch Bakers, Auckland CBD
Beautifully formed and full of fruit, Scratch buns are an ode to the holiday classic. If you're after a traditional, spiced crowd-pleaser, we can guarantee you Scratch won't disappoint.
9. Ima Cuisine, Auckland CBD
If you haven't paid a visit to this Fort Street fortress yet, we suggest you get there, stat. Owner Yael Shochat's masterful (and refreshingly unconventional) Easter morsels have been drawing in Auckland crowds since way back. Boasting the perfect texture, depth of flavour and spice, these bountiful buns are even topped with a vanilla custard cross. What more could you possibly ask for?
Have we missed your favourite bakery's hot cross buns? Please let us know in the comments below.