Cream, cardamom, and coconut
A sweet Norwegian treat from a new book
Norwegian American Weekly
When the weather starts to change and the sun-infused days give way to an opaque clouded sky, I celebrate the arrival of a new season. It must go back to those early years, when as a child fall brought with it the start of the school year. In contrast to the fading flowers and soon-to-be skeletal trees, the season seems to be a time of new beginnings.
At least, it’s a time of coziness. This time of year I look forward to steaming beverages to sip on crisp mornings and the scent of warm spices such as cardamom coming from my kitchen. These skoleboller from the newly-released cookbook The Scandi Kitchen: Simple, delicious dishes for any occasion by Brontë Aurell of the ScandiKitchen in London will be just right for the first chilly days of fall.
Norwegian Cream Buns
Recipes from The Scandi Kitchen by Brontë Aurell
This is the ultimate comfort bun for Norwegians. Traditionally named “skoleboller” (school buns), we call them Norwegian cream buns at the café. You will need (to make 14):
1 x quantity of dough (see recipe)
1⁄2 quantity of crème pâtissière (see recipe)
1 beaten egg, for brushing
150 g (1 cup) icing/confectioners’ sugar
50 g (2⁄3 cup) desiccated/dried shredded coconut
Follow the recipe below to make the dough.
After the dough has risen, roll out the dough into a cylinder and cut it into 14 pieces. Roll each piece into a neat circle, then place on a baking sheet and flatten firmly (although they will spring back into place after a while). Make sure you space the buns out evenly.
Using the base of a glass measuring around 4–5 cm (1 1⁄2–2 in.) in diameter, press down the middle of each bun and add a good tablespoon of crème pâtissière to each indentation.
Leave the buns to rise for a further 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6.
Lightly brush the buns with egg (avoid the custard centers) and bake in the preheated oven for around 10 minutes, or until done (times may vary depending on your oven).
Cover the baked buns with a damp dish towel for 5–10 minutes as soon as you have removed them from the oven, to avoid a crust forming.
Once the buns have cooled, make the icing/frosting. Add a few tablespoons of hot water to the icing/confectioners’ sugar and stir. Keep adding water, drop by drop, and stirring until you have a smooth consistency that can be stirred but is still thick, like a syrup.
Using a plastic pastry brush or a palette knife, carefully smooth the icing/frosting on top of all the buns, avoiding the cream center. After each bun has been brushed, sprinkle coconut over the top.
13 g (2 1⁄2) tsps. dried/active dry yeast or 25 g (1 oz.) fresh yeast *
250 ml (1 cup) whole milk, heated to 36–37°C (97–99°F)
80 g (3⁄4 stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly
40 g (3 tbsps.) superfine sugar
400–500 g (3–3 2⁄3) cups white strong/bread flour
2 tsps. ground cardamom
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
Pour the warm milk into a bowl, sprinkle in the yeast, and whisk together. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes to become bubbly.
Pour into the bowl of a food mixer fitted with a dough hook. Start the machine and add the cooled, melted butter. Allow to combine with the yeast for 1 minute or so, then add the sugar. Allow to combine for 1 minute.
In a separate bowl, weigh out 400 g (3 cups) of the flour, add the cardamom and salt, and mix together. Start adding the flour and spices into the milk mixture, bit by bit. Add half the beaten egg. Keep kneading for 5 minutes. You may need to add more flour—you want the mixture to end up a bit sticky, but not so much that it sticks to your finger if you poke it. It is better not to add too much flour as this will result in dry buns. You can always add more later.
Once mixed, leave the dough in a bowl and cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rise for around 30 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
*If using fresh yeast, add the warm milk to a mixing bowl and add the yeast; stir until dissolved, then pour into the bowl of the food mixer.
500 ml (2 cups) whole milk
1⁄2 vanilla pod/bean
100 g (1⁄2 cup) superfine sugar
30 g (1⁄4 cup) cornstarch
1⁄2 tsp. salt
25 g (2 tbsps.) butter
Many recipes in Scandinavian baking use crème pâtissière—from layer cakes to baked goods and Danish pastries. This is a simple, quick, and delicious version.
Heat the milk in a saucepan together with the scraped-out vanilla seeds. Add the whole pod/bean to the pan, too, for extra flavor.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. When the milk reaches boiling point, remove the vanilla pod/bean and discard, and pour a quarter of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking as you do so. Once whisked through, pour the egg mixture back into the remaining hot milk, return to the heat and bring to the boil, whisking continuously. Let it bubble for just under a minute. Make sure you whisk as it thickens.
Remove from the heat and add the butter, whisking in well. Pour into a cold bowl, then cover the top with a sheet of baking parchment to prevent a hard edge from forming as it cools down. Place in the fridge to cool completely.
Daytona Strong is a Seattle-based food writer and recipe developer. She writes about her family’s Scandinavian heritage through the lens of food at www.outside-oslo.com. Find her on Facebook www.facebook.com/OutsideOslo; Twitter @daytonastrong; Pinterest @daytonastrong; and Instagram @daytonastrong.
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 11, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.