Little by little spring is here and there in sight. Outside the snowdrops are already sprouting and stretching their heads towards the sun. A cold wind is still blowing. That's why I love to make myself comfortable with coffee and freshly baked buns in February after a walk. I like to take an example from the Swedes and Finns, who are famous for their long coffee breaks with pastries.
This social institution and coffee culture is called there: Fika. I have developed a new favourite recipe for this. Since there is currently no fruit in season, I use dried dates and plums and poppy seeds for these buns. This is why this recipe doesn’t need any refined sugar. The filling makes this spelt buns very juicy.
POPPY SEED & PLUM BUNS
For 8 big or 16 small buns
For the dough
425 g spelt flour type 1050
1 pinch of salt
each ¼ tsp ground Bourbon vanilla, ground cardamom, cinnamon and ground cinnamon blossoms
250 ml milk
25 g fresh yeast
3 tbsp dates sugar (Dattelsüße – dates sugar is made of 100% dried and granulated dates)
75 g soft unsalted butter
For the filling
60 g dried dates
70 g dried plums
¼ tsp ground Bourbon vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon
80 g soft unsalted butter
50 g poppy seeds
Egg wash - optional
1 egg yolk
For the dough mix the spelt flour, salt and spices in a bowl and make a hollow in the middle. Heat the milk lukewarm in a saucepan. Add yeast and dates sugar and whisk well until everything has dissolved. Add the yeast milk mixture, and butter to the flour mixture and knead the dough for a few minutes to a smooth, shiny dough. Dust with a little flour, cover with a wet tea towl and let rest in a warm place for about 60 minutes, until the volume has doubled.
For the filling place a pan over a high heat, then fill with ½ litre of boiling water and pop a steamer on top. Reduce the heat to medium and steam the dried dates and plums for around 15 minutes. Let the fruits cool a bit. Then mix the fruits, spices and butter in a blender or with a hand mixer. Add the poppy seeds with a spatula.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 50cm x 35cm. Blob the fruit and poppy seed mixture onto the dough and spread it evenly across to the edges. Fold the rolled out dough into a rectangle of 25cm x 35cm.
Cut the dough into 8 or 16 long strips. Take one strip and twist it , slightly stretching it as you do so. Grab one end of the twisted strip and coil the dough around your hand twice, then over the top of the dough coil and tuck the loose end in at the bottom, as below.
Place the shaped buns on a lined baking tray and preheat the oven to 225°C. 4. Leave the buns to rise until doubled (about 30 minutes). Optionally brush the buns with the egg yolk. Bake in the middle of the oven for 8–9 minutes, until golden.