Thursday, November 10, 2005

More on Cream Buns

What is a cream bun?
A soft, sweet, round roll about the size of a hamburger bun, cut in half diagonally, filled with cream, glazed with some kind of sweet syrup, dusted with icing sugar and finished with a blob of jam in the middle of the cream. Have a look at the picture in my last post.

Early Days:
I first discovered cream buns in my primary school days. The local bakery made (and still makes) very good cream buns. We used to be able to order them in our lunches. Lunch orders were a very special thing in our house. I think it was only on my birthday or similar very special occasions that I was allowed to order my lunch. When I was allowed, I always ordered a cream bun for recess (morning tea). What a treat! I don't remember anything else about ordering lunch except the cream buns - Obviously the beginnings of an obsession!

They're hard to find, those cream buns. Not all bakeries have them. The kind of 'french' bakeries run by Vietnamese bakers don't do them. They prefer croisants and palmiers, remnants of their colonial heritage. Michel's Patisserie, Bakers Delight and similar chains that, in true 'gloabalisation' style are taking over the world, don't do them. They prefer, cheesecake slices, mudcake with swirly cursive messages, cheese and bacon squashy bread and sweet expensive loaves of ultra refined white bread. You have to go to a ordinary suburban independent bakery. Even then, they don't always have them. I am lucky enough to live near two bakeries that make quite acceptable cream buns.

In South Australia:
Earlier in the year my family went on a driving holiday for a month through four states of Australia, we discovered (should I say I discovered) that outside NSW cream buns were impossible to find, there was none in Vic, none in the ACT and none in South Australia. In South Australia they did however have The Kitchener Bun! (Strange name!) These are a local specialty I think, not having come across them anywhere else. They are almost the same as a cream bun but with one important difference. They are made of a sugar coated doughnut. A DEEP FRIED, sugar coated doughnut without a hole, cut in half and filled with cream (usually fresh cream) and a blob of jam. Totally deadly, Very yummy, addictive for the cream bun inclined but not a cream bun. I could never remember the name of them when I went to the bakery, Kitchener Bun! WTF? One time I asked for a Hindenberg Bun. There were howls of laughter, the blimp reference was quite apt. My dad and hubby called them 'blimp burgers' after that.

Mock v's whip:
I believe that the best cream bun is mock cream not fresh. Mock cream goes a bit yellow after half a day in the cabinet and whilst it has that special dairy fat taste it's not sweet enough for me. Mock cream is very white and very sweet (god knows what its made of!?). I also like my cream buns to have a little 'all spice' mixed through the bun so that its slightly coloured like a hot cross bun but paler. I also don't mind a tiny bit of fruit mixed through the bun, its nice to come across a moist currant or two.

Eating a cream bun:
The contrast between the sweet bready roll and the slippery mock cream is what it's all about for me. I love the way that the icing sugar falls all over the place. You invariably get cream up your nose because as soon as you take a bite it squeezes up and out. You have to have a technique. I am a champion!

The best cream bun:
At the moment I like the cream buns sold at the bakery opposite the park in a small town called Gerringong, about 45 mins drive south of here. (Annie you might know it) Their buns are just like my ideal. I always contrive to stop at the bakery if we are there. Sometimes I go there for a daytrip with visitors. It's a very scenic town, no really, it is visit worthy. Can you believe that until recently the best wool shop on the south coast was there. At that time Gerringong was heaven on earth for me.

I'm off to the bakery. One of the local bakeries always has a special deal: Buy two get one free. Are you kidding me? That's one for me, one for me and one for Jt if he's not too late home from work!