Shrove Tuesday Buns
I’ve gotten interested in Scandinavian baking ever since making that lemon almond streamliner cake a couple months ago. Scandinavian desserts are filled with almond paste, fruit, and whipped cream – how could you go wrong? I ran across this particular recipe while I was browsing at a bookstore. The book would have been something like $25, so I went home and looked up a recipe on the Internet.
Shrove Tuesday is the last day before the beginning of Lent. Lots of European societies would use up all the sugar and fat in the house before beginning their Lenten fasting (it’s the same thing as Fat Tuesday). These buns are appropriately rich and over the top. And they’re delicious.
- 1 packet dry yeast
- 1/4 cup water
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 3 cups flour (I used 2 cups all-purpose and 1 cup whole wheat. You can also use 3 1/4 cups all-purpose.)
- 6 oz (one tube) almond paste
- A few tablespoons of cream. Thin it with milk.
Mix the water and the cream and microwave it until it’s slightly warm. Add the yeast and set aside.
Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and cardamom in a large bowl. Beat the eggs slightly, then add the eggs. Check that your yeast/cream mixture is bubbling, then mix it in.
The mixture will make a sticky dough. Knead it for about 5 minutes. Then roll it into a ball, cover it with a kitchen towel, and leave it in a warm place for about an hour.
(I used xylitol instead of sugar in this recipe, and at this point I discovered that yeast doesn’t like xylitol very much. I came back to my dough to find it had risen an anemic amount. I added a pinch of baking powder and the buns turned out fine.) Anyway, if you weren’t like me and used regular sugar in your recipe, you should find that your dough has doubled in volume. Punch it down and roll it into 10 balls. Put the doughballs on a greased baking sheet. Cover with a towel and put them back in that warm place for another hour.
Set your oven to 400º F. Bake buns for 10 minutes at 400º and let them cool. They’ll look like this:
Once they’re cool, slice the tops off the buns as if you’re making lids. Scoop out the insides of the buns with a spoon. Set the crumbs aside in a bowl. You’ll get something reminiscent of those San Francisco sourdough bowls:
Chunk up the tube of almond paste into the bowl of bread crumbs. Mash them up together, gradually adding milk and cream, until the texture is, well, gloppy. But not so wet that it’ll soak through the buns. Use a spoon to fill the buns up to the brim with the filling.
You probably bought the heavy cream in a half pint, right? Good. Beat the remaining cream with a mixer until it forms stiff peaks. Spoon the whipped cream on top of the filled buns. Perch the lid on top of the mound of cream.