Show your love with freshly baked Hjerteboller

Billowy wheat buns will with luscious cream for Valentine’s Day and Lent

Photo: MatPrat
This Valentine’s Day, why not show your love to someone special to you by baking some billowy, beautiful, and delicious Hjerteboller—Heart Buns? They are also an excellent choice for the Lenten season, sure to please your family and friends.

Kristi Bissell
Taste of Norway Editor
The Norwegian American

Succulent wheat buns are filled with fluffy cream and fresh raspberries! They have a little extra love that you can bake for Valentine’s Day, or whenever you want to make a special treat for someone you love. They are also an excellent choice for the Lenten season.

This recipe uses a “tangzhong,” which is a bread-baking technique that makes the buns billowier and softer. It’s a small step that makes a big difference in the final result!

HJERTEBOLLER
HEART BUNS

Minimally adapted from MATPRAT
Makes 12 BUNS

INGREDIENTS

For the tangzhong:

  • 5 tbsps. water
  • 5 tbsps. whole milk
  • 3 tbsps. all-purpose flour

For the dough:

  • 5 tbsps. melted unsalted butter, cooled
  • ½ cup whole milk, slightly warm
  • 2 tsps. instant yeast
  • ½ tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. fine salt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups + 2 tbsps. all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • All of the tangzhong, cooled

For the egg wash:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp. water

For the sweetened whipped cream:

  • 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tbsps. granulated sugar

To finish:

  • Fresh raspberries, halved if desired
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Make the tangzhong:. Combine water, milk, and flour in a medium saucepan. Whisk until combined and no lumps remain. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Make the dough: While the tangzhong is cooling, begin preparing the rest of the ingredients for the dough. Combine yeast, cardamom, salt, sugar, and flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk briefly by hand to combine.
  3. Attach the dough hook to the mixer. Add melted and cooled butter, slightly warm milk, egg and the cooled tangzhong (it can be slightly warm to the touch) to the dry ingredients. Mix on medium low until fully combined.
  4. Increase mixer speed to medium and knead mixture for 3-4 minutes or until dough is slightly tacky but not sticky and clears the side of the bowl. It’s okay if it’s sticking to the bottom of the bowl slightly. You can also mix and knead the dough by hand, but it will take longer, more like 8-10 minutes.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for 1½ hours or until 1½ or 2 times its original size. The time will largely depend on the temperature of your kitchen.
  6. Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it onto a clean, unfloured countertop. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough until it is about half an inch thick. Cut heart shapes out of the dough using a large heart-shaped cookie cutter. Place the buns on the prepared baking sheets leaving 2 inches of space between each bun. Cover and let the buns rise for 30 minutes at room temperature. (Feel free to gather the scraps and roll them a second time to cut out more buns.)
  7. Combine egg and 1 tbsp. water to create an egg wash. Uncover the buns and brush each bun with the egg wash. Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes or until the buns are golden brown.
  8. When you are ready to serve, make the sweetened whipped cream. Place the cream in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk the cream on medium-high speed until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and continue whisking until the whipped cream is fluffy and can hold medium to stiff peaks.
  9. Use a serrated knife and cut each bun in half. Top the bottom half with a layer of whipped cream and fresh raspberries. Cover with the top half of the bun and dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Also see Make your own fastelavnsboller in the February 2023 issue of The Norwegian American.

This article originally appeared in the February 2024 issue of The Norwegian American.

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Kristi Bissell

Kristi Bissell is the founder of True North Kitchen, a Nordic food blog designed for the American home cook. She enjoys creating recipes that celebrate her Scandinavian heritage and that approach traditional Nordic ingredients in a modern, fresh and approachable way. Kristi is a native of Minneapolis and currently resides in Omaha, Neb. When she’s not cooking and baking in her cozy kitchen, Kristi teaches private and corporate yoga classes and leads Scandinavian cooking and baking workshops. For more information, visit her blog, www.true-north-kitchen.com.