Last year The Great British Bake Off (or Baking Show) did an episode that featured hot cross buns (technically “Festival Buns” because it was Festival Week) so now even heathens like me know they’re a real thing, not some medieval nonsense from an old song. It also turns out that a few years ago, back in the Mary/Mel/Sue times, Paul and Mary did a Master Class on Easter favorites that featured Paul’s very own hot cross buns recipe. I’m guessing that while Paul held forth on proper bun-making techniques, Mary listened respectfully and then afterward took a modest bite and pronounced the bun “scrummy.”
Mary, as it happens, had her own hot cross buns recipe, which the BBC duly posted on its website.
But now that Mary is no longer part of Bake Off, she can speak freely about all matters baking-related. In a discussion of home baking projects on BBC Radio Four’s The Food Programme, she said, “The comfort of a cake, there’s nothing nicer than a Victoria sandwich. Maybe you even want to tackle something like hot cross buns. Mind you, I have to confess that the best quality ones are in the supermarkets, they have the better quality. I have never really thought mine were better. They are difficult to get light and right.”
Are you shocked? Newspapers across Britain reported this as a mild scandal. But I think everyone who was planning to eat hot cross buns on Sunday should feel relieved that they have Mary Berry’s blessing not to put any extra effort into this baking project and instead pursue something more rewarding, like cinnamon rolls. Well, okay, Mary suggested making a casserole for homebound and socially isolated neighbors. That’s nice, too.