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Monkey Weddings & Summer Sapphires

South Africa to Nova Scotia: Stories, Recipes & Memories

Spicy Sweet Pulla

The pickled fish recipe is traditionally eaten with hot cross buns, but I prefer these hybrid spicy buns without the addition of raisins and dried fruit. My Finnish friend Piia, introduced me to Pulla, which are slightly sweet and spiced with cardamom, which is one of the most used spices in Scandinavian baking.

Yield: 12

1 cup warm milk 2 packages active dry yeast 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoons ground allspice 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cardamom 1 teaspoon salt 8 tablespoons or 1 stick of unsalted butter 1 large egg yolk 1 large egg, whisked for glaze

  1. In a small bowl stir together milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Let mixture stand 5 minutes, or until foamy.

  2. In a separate mixing bowl whisk together the egg yolk, sugar and butter until pale and fluffy.

  3. Into a large bowl sift together flour, allspice, cinnamon and salt.

  4. Make a well in center of flour mixture and pour in yeast and egg mixtures. Stir the mixture until sticky dough is formed. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to over knead or the buns will be rock hard. Transfer the dough to an oiled large bowl and cover with plastic wrap, in a warm place until doubled in size for about an hour.

  5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  6. Knead the dough briefly. Divide the dough into 12 equal size balls (about the size of a tennis ball). Place the buns about and inch apart on the baking trays.

  7. Let the buns rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in size, for about 45 minutes.

  8. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  9. Brush the buns with egg glaze and arrange 2 pastry strips over center of each bun to form a cross. Trim ends of pastry strips flush with bottoms of buns. Bake buns on the middle rack of the oven, until golden, about 12 minutes. Repeat with the other sheet of buns. Transfer buns to a rack to cool slightly. Serve with butter while still warm. These buns freeze really well; just warm them up when ready to serve.

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