A few weeks ago I was honored with the prize “Premio Cake Blog Di Qualita'” (cake prize for a quality blog). The prize is given by another blogger who received it earlier. I got mine from Uno Scoiattolo In Dispensa – The Pantry Squirrel, a lovely girl based in Edinburgh who writes a food blog in both Italian and English.
Our Squirrel explicitly asked for something Swedish and sweet. It took me a while to get the right inspiration and find the right recipe, but here we are. I re-discovered a Swedish pastry that I truly can relate to, something that is not as common as Kanelbullar (Swedish cinnamon rolls) but that totally blew my head off the one time I had them. I am talking of Sockerbullar (socker=sugar; bullar=buns). They remind me of bomboloni alla crema, sweet buns loaded with butter and eggs, filled with custard, and covered with sugar. The only difference, which makes Sockerbullar just a tiny bit healthier, is that bomboloni are deep fried while the Swedish equivalent is baked.
As I found out, another name for these sinful buns is Pariserbullar, buns from Paris (go figure why). I was pleased to find a detailed method for sockerbullar the old-fashioned way (gammaldags) in Jan Hedh’s bible on bread and sweet breads (Bröd och Kaffebröd), a great reference. Indeed, when a Swedish friend saw the thick volume, he proudly affirmed “you don’t need any other book, Hedh is the best baker in Sweden”. So I tested my understanding of Swedish and went through the recipe, constantly wondering if I read the text right. Judging from the outcome, I would give myself an B++ (in Swedish and maybe an A- in baking?). And here comes the sudata translation together with my personal tips.
GAMMALDAGS SOCKERBULLAR (from Jan Hedh, Bröd & Kaffebröd)
Pre-ferment (Fordeg): 500 g milk, 75 g fresh yeast (18 g if instant-dried), 25 g caster sugar, 600 g all-purpose flour (I used organic, 200 g bread flour+400 all-purpose).
Vanilla Custard (Vaniljkräm): 1 vanilla pod, 500 g milk, 6 egg yolks, 125 g caster sugar, 40 g cornstarch, 25 g butter.
Final Dough (Bortgörning): 200 g butter, 150 g caster sugar, 25 g vanilla-flavored confectioner’s sugar, 5 egg yolks, 600 g all-purpose flour (I used organic, 200 g bread flour+400 all-purpose) .
Pre-Ferment (Fordeg): Dissolve the yeast in the milk mixed with the sugar. Add the flour and knead by machine for 5-6 minutes at low-speed (or for 10 minutes by hand). Let rest covered for 30-45 minutes.
Custard (Vaniljkräm): This is better done while the pre-ferment rests (or even the day before). Divide the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrap the inner flesh into the a pot with the milk. Let cook until almost boiling, then put aside and let cool. Whip the egg yolks with the sugar and then add the flour. When the milk is only slightly warm (and not hot) pour it over the egg mixture and whip. Return to the stove, add the butter, and cook on low heat until thickened. Make sure that the custard is not hot when filling the buns.
Final Dough (Bortgörning): Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees (Celsius). Add all the ingredients of the final dough to the pre-ferment, except the butter. Knead for 5-6 minutes at low-speed by machine (or 10 minutes by hand). Add the butter, in small pieces, and work for further 10 minutes at medium-low speed (or 15-20 minutes by hand). Let rest, covered, in an oiled container for 30 minutes. Turn the dough on a flowered surface and divide in 4 pieces. Make sure to cover the pieces you are not using, so they won’t dry. Divide each piece in 7-10 parts. Each piece should weight 60 g (according to Hedh), but I like them a little bigger, so mine weighted 65-75 g. Gently flatten each piece with a rolling-pin without deflating too much the dough. Each piece has to look like a little square. Pour some custard (1 or 1/2 tea-spoon) on each square and seal the ends of the square, making it into a round. Lay the buns on baking dishes, covered with baking paper. Leave enough space in between buns. Bake for 4-5 minutes at 250 degrees and for further 4-5 minutes at 220 degrees. While still hot, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with caster sugar. They are better served warm.
CONSIDERATIONS: This recipe yields about 30 buns, so you may want to halve the doses. Or, you can do like me, and use part of the dough to make a braid. Really nice with coffee.
And the winners are… and now, I will give the prize to three other bloggers:
Pamela from Spoon Feast, because she writes the most instructive and mind-changing food posts ever;
Euan from Signor Biscotti, because this British man can really bake (even Italian classics);
Kim from Foodin New England, for all the amazing cooking and baking achievements of these years.
7 (+2) Sweets that changed my life:
And to finish, as a winner, I have to mention 7 sweet things that changed my life… oh my, I could only go down to a minimum of 9!
Gelato al tartufo (chocolate truffle ice cream)/Gelato ai pinoli (Pine nuts ice cream), ex equo
Pastarelle (Italian eclair)
Salame di cioccolato (chocolate salami)/Dolce di crema e biscotti oro saiwa (custard-biscuits pudding), ex-equo
Crostata alla frutta (Italian fruit pie)
Mont blanc (chestnut-meringue French dessert)
Bomboloni alla crema
Chocolate Croissant/Chocolate Belgian Waffles, ex-equo
and which are yours?