Thursday, January 12, 2017

Skolebrød or Skoleboller, little sweet cardamom, pastry cream and coconut Norwegian buns (vegan, dairy free, egg free)

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   Today, I'm hosting the first 2017 edition of a French food challenge called Battle Food. I had been chosen to be the "godmother" last month by another blogger thanks to my vegan cranberry Christmas pavlova and I had proposed the theme: Yummy Trip because I love to travel and discover new cultures and food specialities but I haven't been able to travel much this past years so I travel with food instead.

   I wanted to go toward a type of cuisine completely unknown to me but I didn't find anything inspiring in some countries. So after going through Pinterest, Internet and my books, I made short list and finally... I went for a Scandinavian recipe because I just love its cuisine and pastries.

   I took the habit to publish a Scandinavian recipe each year for Christmas holidays but I lacked time last year so I thought it was the right time to do it to celebrated this new year. I stumbled upon these little cute Norwegian buns and I knew this is what I wanted to try. They're called Skolebrød ("little school breads" in the Northern and Eastern part of the country) and Skoleboller ("little school buns" in Western Norway). You may recognize the -boller/-bullar ending such as for the kanelbullar, those famous Swedish cinnamon rolled buns. It's said that these Norwegian buns were usually brought to school by children in their lunch boxes to enjoy then as a desert.

   After I fell in love with them online, I made a mix of several recipes to make my own and bring my personal touch. These cardamom buns are filled with pastry cream and iced with coco once baked. As I had asked to propose original or quite unknown foreign recipes or to had a twist, I chose to make a grapefruit pastry cream and all the flavors together just match perfectly, it's delicious. Of course, you can just use the basic vanilla pastry cream instead. 

   The good news are that the bun dough is egg free to pushed it to make completely dairy and egg free (vegan) buns and also made a vegan pastry cream, it's very easy and more convenient because you don't have to throw egg whites or think about what to do with them, there's no waste with vegan pastry cream. 

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Skolebrød ou Skoleboller, little sweet cardamom, pastry cream and coconut Norwegian buns

Prep time : 30 minutes
Resting time : 2 hours + 1 hour
Baking time : 15 minutes
Serving : 8 little buns

Bun dough

- 275 g / 9,7 oz flour
- 5 g / 0,18 oz dry active yeast
- 35 g / 1,23 oz whole organic blond sugar (or other non refined sugar)
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 pinch of salt
- 165 g / 5,82 oz  milk of your choice
- 25 g / 0,88 oz  butter or plant-based margarine

Grapefuit pastry cream :
(basic vanilla version, see notes*)

- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 125 ml / 4,23 fl. oz / 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
125 ml / 4,23 fl. oz / 1/2 cup milk of your choice
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 pinch of salt
- 30 g / 1,06 oz whole organic blond sugar (or other non refined sugar)

*Notes : To make a  basic vanilla pastry cream, use 250 ml / 1 cup / 8,45 fl. oz milk of your choice and skip the grapefruit juice, add the beans of vanilla pod and a pinch of ground turmeric (optional, it's just to obtain a yellow cream such as the non vegan one).


- 5 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tsp water
- desiccated shredded coconut

  • In a bowl, mix 215 g / 7,58 oz flour, yeast, sugar, cardamom and salt.

  • Warm the milk on low heat. If you use the microwaves, be careful and do it progressively, mine was warm after 15 seconds only at 750 watts. It mustn't be hot or it would kill the yeast and the bun dough would not rise.

  • Stir in the butter/margarine to the warm milk. 

  • Pour the milk mixture onto the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon then continue to knead with your hands. Add the remaining flour progressively until you can make a dough ball slightly sticky.

  • Flour the top of the dough and let it rise for about 1 h 30 to 2 hours in a greased bowl covered with a clean towel in a warm draft-free place, at the end of this time, the dough should have doubled its size.

  • Meanwhile, prepare the pastry cream.

  • Pour the grapefruit juice and the milk in a measuring glass.

  • In a bowl, miss the flour, starch and 1/3 of the milk + juice mixture. Mix until you have a homogeneous consistency.

  • In a saucepan, pour the remaining milk + juice mixture, lemon juice, sugar, salt. Stir in the flour and starch mixture and whisk on medium heat for about 5 minutes until it has become a thick cream. If you're making basic vanilla pastry cream : add the ground turmeric and vanilla beans at the end.

  • Pour the pastry cream in a gratin dish or a plate and cover with cling film, let it cool down before keeping it in the fridge and using it.

  • When the dough ball has doubled its size, knead it again quickly and shape 8 little balls of a similar weight (5 g / 0,18 oz difference is okay)

  • Put the balls onto a baking tray covered with baking paper and let them rise for about 1 hour covered with a clean towel at room temperature. 

  • Once they've risen, make a "well" in the middle of each bun with your thumb (the size depends on how much pastry cream you want to put inside)

  • Fill up each "well" with pastry cream with a pipping bag (or a freezing bag if your'e not equipped). You'll have some cream left after that, you can keep in the fridge in an airtight container for a few days and enjoy it on bread, pancakes or in a yoghurt.

  • Bake in a warm oven for about 15 to 17 minutes at 190°C / 375°F, the let them cool down on  a rack.

  • In the meantime, prepare the icing.

  • In a bowl, mix in the icing sugar and water. You may need to add some water or sugar, the icing is ready when it makes a thick paste not too runny. 

  • Ice the sides of each bun with a brush or a spoon or directly into the bowl and sprinkle shredded coconut. 

  • Let them dry on a rack with a baking sheet underneath. You can also enjoy them right away if you're really hungry and not patient (it's a little sticky but tested and approved!...).

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  1. These look delicious!! I'm always intrigued by authentic ethnic recipes. And being part Norwegian, I just HAVE to try these!

  2. Oh my goodness these little pastries look amazing! Can I place my order now?!!! :D

  3. These look amazing! I've never heard of Skolebrød or Skoleboller before, but anything with cardamom has to be tasty! Yum!

  4. I never heard or tried these! They looks great!

  5. Made them today, we didn't make a deep enough well, so most of the custard came out the top--still tastes good though. We also noticed the need to apply the coconut quickly before the icing dried. Otherwise, they came out yummy, not too sweet. For a little extra flavor we'll add a little raspberry jam next time as well--inspired by the Great British Bake Off episode. Thanks for the great recipe!


Please, feel free to leave a comment whether you tried the recipe or not :)