Blueberry buns single

When my partner and I were in Helsinki last year, we visited the vibrant markets at Market Square near the water (see below).  The market was full of vendors selling gloriously fresh fruit and vegetables.  We wandered around for a little while so I could take in all the piles of dazzling food on offer.  Rich colours and smells filled my every turn.

After some observation, I was puzzled by one interesting habit.  The Finns work with the metric system.  But at these markets, many items are measured in volume rather than weight.  It was quite an approach.

I greedily wanted to try all the berries I could get my hands on.  Particularly raspberries and blueberries that can cost close to $10 in Australia for practically a small handful.  I asked for “half a litre” of various berries and watched as the lady gently transferred each berry selection into a tin mug, then into a brown paper bag (the cups I saw were ¼, ½ and 1 litre sizes).  After paying, I actually felt like I got the best bargain in the world.  Even with the exchange for the Euro!  Then after tasting, I knew I got the best bargain in the world.  They were just divine.  I think they lasted less than ten minutes between us.

Separately, I noticed a number of people eating fresh peas.  They were huge.  I automatically thought they may be less tasty given the size, so knew I had to also test for myself.  They were amazing.  Sweet, firm and morish.  I ate each pea pod in quick succession.

So for my next Finnish baking month adventure, I wanted to incorporate some inspiration of Helsinki’s Market Square … or Kauppatori.

Once again, flicking through my Scandinavian baking bible by Beatrice Ojakangas, I found Mustikkapiiraat.  A blueberry filled bun.  It was quite an easy decision to make these as they included not only the obligatory berries, but also had a cardamom flavoured dough (well, the cardamom is apparently optional, but not in my eyes!).

They were easy to make and smelled wonderful coming out of the oven.  I almost clapped my hands in delight when I saw the gooey berry drizzle running down the side of a bun or two.  It was hard to wait for them too cool slightly so I could eat them.  I iced a few buns to devour straight away but also ended up freezing the remaining buns (un-iced) in packets of two to have as a quick breakfast treat.  Slightly re-warmed, they taste almost as good as straight out of the oven.  I like to tease my fellow co-workers who are snacking on the usual vegemite on toast, with my tasty alternative. 

Big blueberries

{ Blueberry Filled Buns }

* Ingredients *

Pastry:
1 package active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water, 105-115F or 40-45C
½ cup milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ cup raisins
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup softened butter
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Filling:
1 pint or 450g fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch / cornflour
2 tablespoons sugar

Glaze:
1 slightly beaten egg
2 tablespoons milk

* Directions *

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water; add the milk.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Add the sugar, egg, cardamom, raisins, and salt.  Add the softened butter and 1 cup of the flour; beat until smooth and satiny.  Gradually add the remaining flour, mixing until dough is smooth and satiny, not quite stiff enough to knead.  Cover and let rise for 1 to 2 hours until doubled.  Meanwhile, combine the blueberries, cornstarch and sugar.  Preheat oven to 400F or 200C.  Dust the risen flour.  Shape into a ball, dusting with flour lightly, if necessary, to prevent stickiness.  Lightly oil a work surface.  Turn dough out onto the work surface and divide into 12 parts.  Cover a baking sheet with parchment or lightly grease it. Roll dough into smooth balls and place on the baking sheet with the smooth side up.  Let rise until puffy, 45 minutes to 1 hour.  With a floured glass, press an indentation into the centre of each round of dough, and a rounded edge on each ball.  Spoon filling into the centre of each bun.  Beat the egg and milk to make a glaze and brush edges of the pastries with the mixtures.  Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 12 buns.

Helsinkilarge

Helsinki, Market Square

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