Just listening to Cleaning Windows this morning, and wondering…
I’d never heard of them till your post.
A quick Google suggests they are a very regional food, pretty much confined to Northern Ireland and the adjacent west coast of Scotland. Google is no help as to the derivation of the name - although I’d guess that, as Scottish traditonal cuisine probably has greater links with France than does English or Welsh cuisine, it may be an interpretation of something once popular there.
Googled, the buns look like the French choux, but not at all the same thing.
• 10 fl oz milk
5 fl oz oil
6 oz sugar
1 lb 12 oz self-raising flour
5 oz currants
• Preheat oven to 200 centigrade / 400 farenheit / Gas Mark 6.
• Mix the milk, oil, eggs and sugar by hand.
• Add in flour, again by hand along with the currants.
• Drop desired amounts onto a greased tray and bake for fifteen minutes
• The result should be a well risen golden brown.
I never would have heard of them either were I not so sweet on Van Morrison.
Yes, I googled too, and I’d give a recipe a go to satisfy my curiosity (which killed the cat, as Morrison reminds), but I don’t have an oven.
This is the most I could dig up using Google, which otherwise offers a lot of unanswered queries and no theories about the origin of the name or the bun itself
Concluding from several forums, blogs, websites etc., here is a few things I can conclude:
• Paris bun has several names: Rock bun, Rock cake.
• little round cakes, with pearled sugar on top, some version has currents
• exist in Northern Ireland (Belfast) and the west coast of Scotland
• seems to be popular in the childhood of many people, not something people make nowadays
• people seem don’t know it’s origin and why it’s called Paris bun
Photo of Paris bun from North South Food
Yes, all that does seem to be the case. I read the description on the North South Food website (thank you!), and I gather not everybody finds them tasty in the original version.
But even so, it sounds like they might go well with tea, and here’s a recipe that for drinking them with lemonade, which is what Morrison did while cleaning windows.
Even deeper Googling revealed that Morrison was spotted, not so much in the distant past, eating Paris buns at Belfast institution called SD Bells.
I suppose now, the next person to get it into their head to Google up “Paris buns” will end up here!
I like the wikipedia being so straight forward, Paris buns are popular in poorer areas of Scotland and Ireland for being cheap and filling.
My guess is that this was written by someone who is neither Scottish nor Irish. Or poor.
I am wondering if Neapolitans would take issue with someone making the same description of pizza (although they might insist on mentioning they find it delicious, unlike say, polenta. One could think of other examples. The Italians have a term cucina povera which now is almost a term of honor.
Many food has humble origin. If I remembered correctly, lobsters and caviars used to be food for the prisoners.
They also exist on the east coast of Scotland. Just thought I’d add, since I’ve seen and tried them in bakeries here.
What do Paris buns taste like (other than Paris buns?)
Where is “here”?
‘Here’ is east Scotland, central belt.
To be honest, the experience was kind of unmemorable. A hard and not so sweet scone, perhaps, but to say ‘hard’ is unfair. But the ‘cake’ isn’t so much that which can be sliced as it has an almost hard crumbly consistency. Maybe an austere scone?
Let me have a think, but it’s something that would appeal to those who aren’t mad for sweets.
Thanks! Some of the pictures of Paris buns did make me think of what I know of crumbly scones. Where I live in Italy you can also find breakfast pastries that are barely sweet, dry and a bit gritty, and if you are drinking coffee and don’t want a sugar rush – which can sometimes just make you feel hungrier – then some of these drier pastries have their appeal.
I hope you are high and dry where you are. I have watched the news of the difficult storm Frank. Half my mother’s family emigrated from Scotland (Sutherland, Inverness-shire) to the US, and I have long harbored a desire to live there, and actually keep a rather large folder of towns, both east and west, where I’d be interested to make my home (there are so many very charming houses in Scotland). Unfortunately for me personally, as long as Scotland is part of the UK, obtaining legal residency there may be out of my reach. So I’m stuck in sunny Italy. (although it is rainy, chill and grey today)
I’ll hold back from asking the logistics of needing an independent Scotland (although I can understand the preference) and just say cheers for the dry wishes. fortunateky,mtheneast coast has been soared the floods of the west.
If Scotland becomes independent, I’m going to campaign for northwest England to secede from the union and join it.
Not being a citizen of the UK, I am not going to express an opinion about the wisdom or lack thereof of Scottish indpendence writ large or northwest England. I’ll only state factually that during the past campaign for the referendum on Scotland, there was talk of crafting a different immigration policy for an independent Scotland. Present immigration policy in the UK toward non-EU passport holders (of which I am one) makes it easier for me to live legally in Italy. At least for now.
Not out of the realm of possibility, Harters. Liverpool is on it: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/liverpool-votes-ditch-england-merseysiders-9255388
ETA: ah, wait, looks like Manchester is on it, too: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/were-moving-scotland-manchester-votes-9254231