M&S' rhubarb and custard buns have been around for a couple of summers now, but I hadn't brought myself to buy any thanks to the unimpressive reviews I'd read on them. To be honest, it's only in the past six months that I've learned how great M&S filled buns can be. If you'll recall, the Christmas boobie buns kicked things off, followed by the lemon Whitby buns, and I well and truly fell in love with the carrot cake & cream cheese hot cross buns -which I've only just run out of thanks to my excessive hoarding. It was these discoveries that got me wondering about the rhubarb buns, and praying that they'd return once again this year. Alas! When the summer products started to grace M&S' shelves, the rhubarb buns were missing, but thankfully they were just a little late to the table. The rhubarb & custard buns are £1.35 for two, but of course a I waited to find them reduced.
"Vanilla custard flavoured buns filled with a tangy rhubarb jam."
I also managed to buy them during the heatwave, which means that they were difficult to retrieve from their cardboard wrap without smearing the icing everywhere. To be fair, I was impressed that the topping had stayed as intact as it had.
Slicing the bun in half revealed the generous pocket of oozy pink sauce. It was much looser than normal jam, and had a hard time staying within the bun -as you can see from the photo below. I felt that Rhubarb and custard was a bit of a marketing ploy on M&S' part, for the 'custard flavoured bun' didn't taste any different to their normal sweet dough. I mean, it was light, fluffy and scrummy, but it wouldn't live up to Ronseal's standards.
As for that oozy rhubarb sauce, it was very sweet, lacked the promised tang and was just too thin. I'd have really like to have seen a chunky, slightly tangy, soft-set conserve here instead. Well, actually, if it was me designing the buns I would have filled the buns with both rhubarb jam and custard (or Creme patisserie). The consistency and abundance (which I'm certainly not complaining about) of the filling means that it's a bun best reserved to eat at home. Especially if you're even remotely in the clumsy club, and never eat one in a white shirt.
The final disappointment came from the icing. I'd have liked to have seen a rhubarb flavoured topping as per the Greggs ring doughnuts (which have made a reappearance this year). M&S have been lazy though, and just used a standard unflavoured icing.
Despite my complaints about them not being really rhubarb and custard-y, these are yummy buns and so If you imagine them to be big, sticky, raspberry filled finger buns you won't be disappointed. I will point out though that the Lemon buns are far more exciting, and well worth a try if you haven't yet.