First came the KFC chicken shortage, and now… well, surely not a hot cross bun shortage?! Alas, this is not the case. It is in fact a raisin shortage we are undergoing, and it appears to have had a knock on effect to the price of buns this year… and potentially our Christmas puds in the next few months!

You see, us British folk are the world’s biggest importer of dried fruit, but according to leading suppliers, the price of raisins and sultanas has risen by 42% since September 2017. California, who have been one of our main sources has decided to produce fewer sultanas, currants and raisins and focus on other crops due to low profits over the past few years. This has been made worst by recent heatwaves, and sadly wildfires which destroyed thousands of acres of vineyards in California in October and November 2017.

Many of our bakeries have looked elsewhere for their dried fruits, including Turkey and Greece, but their prices have been soaring too!

To summarise, we basically still have raisins, but they’re now more expensive. So plan of action? Well… let’s think outside of the box! Hot Cross Bun purists, look away whilst I propose something wild. How about a bit of dried pineapple, coconut, chocolate chips, fudge, salted caramel… (the list goes on…), but the point is: Get creative. Ingredients are there to be experimented with, and there are no rules when it comes to food. This year, why not let your hot cross bun simply be a vessel for your crazy food ideas? Heck, if avocado and courgette can be seen in a cake together, what is stopping you?

I was on BBC West Midlands, BBC Stoke and BBC Coventry & Warwickshire talking all things hot cross buns. Listen back, here!

Photography credit: Andre Ainsworth.