We love to have fun here at The Pie Piper, making sure that customers love the taste, presentation, and the entire vibe of every delicious treat we make. But it’s also fun to get competitive every once in a while to show all of New Zealand whose buns are truly hot stuff. We’re talking about The Great NZ Hot Cross Bun Competition.
Run by the Baking Industry Association of NZ, this competition is both prestigious and a great way to get our name out there. Hot Cross Buns are a traditional bake for Easter and a great way to welcome Autumn. Making the perfect bun involves precise technical expertise and quite a bit of creativity to stand apart from the competition. It’s a real test for bakers and a proud Kiwi tradition.
What’s at stake
Being featured in Slice magazine, along with other national and local media is a good start. Of course, there is the official award and major bragging rights. And the recognition that brings glory and new customers to the winner (somehow there are still people who don’t know that we sell pie and happiness — shocking). We won’t lie — everybody wants to sell not just the most delicious but also award-winning treats.
Each bakery puts forward a batch of 6 buns. They will be judged on volume and general appearance, crust colour, texture, aroma, crumb colour, technical difficulty, flavour, and originality/uniqueness. Whew, just writing that made us hungry.
If you’re into numbers, here is the % breakdown:
Presentation - 30%
Technical Skills - 20%
Eating Qualities - 40%
Innovation + Skill - 10%
(For some unfair to us reason, “best-looking team” does not have any weight in the judging.)
Our buns, our buns, our yummy hot cross buns
As you cheer us onto victory, we’d love to share a bit of the secret recipe that makes our buns the hot stuff to win the competition and your taste. We start with classic flavours, including plenty of raisins and currants. Then we add a little magic in the form of just a touch of homemade citrus peel (not a lot, it’s important not to overpower other subtle flavours). The key is to make them so appealing that you’ll run for some butter and may be tempted to eat all 6 buns of a batch in one sitting.
You don’t have to be a national judge to try these out — order your hot cross buns here.
Happy Easter and enjoy those hot buns!
Danielle and the Pipers/Donuteers
Danielle Butler is an entrepreneur and the owner of The Pie Piper & Doornuts, in Auckland, New Zealand. She's an expert baker and creator. Her specialty is in American dessert pies, cakes and other desserts. Danielle has been featured in magazines like Denizen, New Zealand and Australian Women's Weekly, and has been a guest on radio spots, a judge on baking competitions and guest speaker sharing her knowledge of all things baking and entrepreneurship. She wants to empower people to create their own special moments with friends and family through food. Danielle is passionate about combating food insecurity in our communities.