Sunday, 3 February 2008

Supersized Shrove Buns

Today is Shrove Sunday or Quinquagesima meaning we are 7 weeks from Easter and only a few days from Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. Traditionally in Finland Shrove Sunday was a happy, even a bit boisterous celebration, the last occation to eat meat and greasy food before the Lenten fast. After the Lutheran Reformation in the 16th century fasting lost its importance, but many aspects of the old Shrove celebrations continued. Shrove buns became popular in the 19th century. They are buns with whipped cream and marzipan or jam filling, and are sold in every supermarket in Finland in the weeks leading to Shrove Sunday either individually or in packets of two.

Heated discussions are sometimes had between supporters of marzipan and those saying that the only real Shrove bun is one with jam inside. Which party do Cinnamonda belong to, you may ask. Well, I am a pro-marzipan person. :) Today, however, because my corner store had run out of marzipan (not so unusual at this time of year) and I did not have the time to make my own, I had to change sides and use jam. Actually jam worked just fine. Jam is good. Jam is very good! I like jam, too.

The dough I used for these buns is a rather typical "pullataikina" i.e. a dough for Finnish-style coffeebread. You can make any kind of buns or braided coffeebreads from it. I spiced up the recipe a little by using not only cardamom, but also some Mallorcan saffron bought from Madrid last November.

Supersized Shrove Buns & 1 Extra Large Braided Coffeebread

For the dough you will need:

5 dl (organic) milk (can be substituted with water)
22 g dried yeast (or 50 g fresh yeast)
1 egg
2 teaspoons salt
1 dl sugar
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
14 dl wheat flour
200 g liquid vegetable oil product for baking (or melted butter)
a pinch of saffron
some egg for brushing

1. In a large bowl mix 7 dl flour, salt, sugar, saffron and cardamom with a spoon.
2. Heat the milk to 42 degrees Centigrade (a little warmer than your hand) if using dried yeast or to 37 degrees Centigrade ( same temperature as your hand) if using fresh yeast. My method of getting the milk (or water) just warm enough is to keep my fingertips in the milk (or water) while heating it. :) Too cold or too hot will lead to the dough not rising. Pour the milk onto the dry ingredients and mix with an electric mixer using dough hooks.
3. Add the vegetable oil product or melted butter and the egg. Mix again.
4. Start adding more flour 1 dl at a time until the dough feels silkysmooth to your hand and does not stick to the sides of the bowl anymore. This should happen after 14 dl of flour, but sometimes you may need a bit less or a bit more flour.
5. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
6. Take the dough from the bowl. Knead it with your hands on a clean (slightly floured) surface. Cut 9 good-sized pieces of the dough and mould into round buns between your hand and the surface. Place the buns onto a baking paper covered baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with a kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
7. While the buns are rising, heat the oven to 225 C, and make the braided coffeebread from the remaining dough.
8. Cut the dough into 3 parts.
9. Knead each part into a long (circa 30 cm), thin bar.
10. Braid the bars, and let the braid rise for 30 min in a warm place and covered with a kitchen towel.
11. After the buns and the braid have risen brush them with some slightly beaten egg and decorate with flaked almonds.
12. Bake the buns in 225 C for about 15 minutes or until they are beautifully golden. After taking them from the oven lower the temperature to 200 C and bake the braided coffeebread for about 25 minutes or until it, too, is beautifully golden.

For the filling of 9 buns you will need:

6 dl cream
berry jam of your choice (it should actually be strawberry, but let's not be too strict here :) I used raspberry jam)

1. Whip the cream until its quite hard (not butter, though!:))
2. Cut off the tops of well cooled buns. Place 2 teaspoonfuls of jam in the middle of the bottom part of each bun.

3. Add lots of whipped cream. It should show between the "hat" and the bottom part of the bun.
4. Enjoy!!


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

How gorgeous! Your braid and buns look fabulous!



anya said...

Dear Tiina,

You are just such a seasoned baker! I'm in awe!!

anya said...

I've just noticed you are reading 'French Women for All Seasons...' by Mireille Guilliano. It's so charming and informative, and moreover encouraging! I love her books! If there are books that changed your life, the books by Mireiile are definitely the ones for me!! And what are your impressions?

Cinnamonda said...

Thank you so much for your kind words, Rosa and Anya!

And Anya, I too find Guiliano's book encouraging. (I have not read the previous one, even though I do know something about it)Her advice is so sensible. I tested her advice the other day, when I bought two little tarts both of which I would usually probably have eaten one after the other the same evening.:) This time I placed one of them on a saucer and ate it slowly with a spoon. And it worked perfectly! :) I had no desire to eat the other one until the next day.
I also like many of her recipes.


White On Rice Couple said...

Tiina, the braided coffee bread looks like it came out of a magazine! Are you sure you're new to this?
We especially like your instructions on filling the buns with "lots of whipped cream". Yes!!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Wow - how lovely! I particularly like the look of that braided bread...

Cinnamonda said...

White on rice couple and Aforkfulofspaghetti, thank you so much for the your compliments! This particular recipe is an "old friend". I have used it many times before, though I guess this was the first braid I baked using it.


Kate / Kajal said...

Tiina ,u are definitely the queen in bread making. I really wish i could bake bread like that. I've just got a new oven and will defi try this recipe.

BTW i'd love it with jam n cream too :)

Cinnamonda said...

Kajal, thank you! I'd be so honoured, if you used my recipe. Please, don't hesitate to ask, if you have any questions about it. And yes, jam and cream are a very good combination! :)


Poorfather said...

Hello Tiinuska!

Vaikkei laskiasena ollut paljon lunta sinun tekemässäsi laskiais-
pullassa oli tosi paljon syötävää ja se oli tosi maukasta. Näin vähälumisena talvena laskiaispul-
lia voisi syödä useamminkin.

Cinnamonda said...

Heippa Iskä! Hi Dad!

Laskiaispullatilaus vastaanotettu!:)
Lisää tulee, kunhan kerkiän.