Lightly sweetened buns, boller, are one of the most beloved breads in Norway. The sweet-smelling aroma coming from boller just baked in the oven is comfort at its best. The milk-based breads are soft and fluffy and lightly scented with spicy cardamom. They are simply divine in their subtleties. The most basic recipe features nothing other than this golden bun and its cardamom, which deserves its own post as it is the mecca for all other types of boller in Norway. This I will be sure to write about sometime in the near future.
This recipe, however, is a little bit indulgent. Baking like this seems to occur more frequently when autumn is at its height and winter is peaking its head around the corner. Here I use the boller dough as a base while creating a variation on the filling and then rolling it like you would a cinnamon bun, which then gets the name snurrer in Norwegian.
I wanted to utilise the plums which I had picked from our tree and made jam out of a few weeks back. Homemade plum jam with boller. Perfection.
Plums have been cultivated since the 1700s in Norway, making the use of plums in Norwegian cooking a 300 year old tradition.
It started with the plums and grew to include custard because custard pairs so well with boller. Skoleboller, anyone? And since I was already dreaming up a boller with custard, why not add an almond cream to the custard. And so it was, snurrer with homemade plum jam and almond custard.
The custard is mixed with an almond cream and spread across the rolled out dough. The plum jam is then placed on top of the almond custard in vertical stripes. Rolling the dough is the fun part while trying to keep the filling inside. Though, I should point out, while not difficult, rolling and cutting the dough into individual boller was a bit messy, but the outcome is so worth it. The boller will stay moist even after a couple of days and can easily be warmed again in the oven. Served alongside more homemade jam makes this one rustic snurrer that won’t last very long on the table.
Snurrer with Plums and Almond Custard
(Makes around 18 large snurrer)
- 2.25 dl (1 cup) milk
- 50 g fresh yeast or 17 g (about 2 Tb) dry, active yeast
- 2 eggs
- 125 g (1/2 cup) sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon (you can substitute cardamom if you wish)
- 600 g (4 1/4 cups) flour
- 125 g (1 stick plus 1 Tb) butter, melted
- 115 g (½ cup) sugar
- 110 g (2/3 cup) ground almonds
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 113 g (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
- 2 egg yolks
- 55 g (1/4 cup) sugar
- 2 Tb cornstarch
- ½ vanilla pod or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2.25 dl (1 cup) whole milk
Homemade Plum Jam (or even a quick plum compote)
- I use a 1 to 1 ratio, so 1 kg of plums to 1 kg sugar. After I cut and pit the plums, I macerate with sugar and place in the refrigerator overnight. I then cook over medium heat and bring the plums to a simmer, skimming off any foam. I add a package of gelatin and allow it thicken before taking off of the stove and placing in sterilised jars.
Start with preparing the dough. Place all the ingredients of the boller dough in a kitchen mixer with the bread hook and knead for about 10 minutes on medium-low speed. If you do not have a kitchen mixer, just blend everything in a large bowl and knead by hand. The dough should be smooth and elastic. *If using fresh yeast, be sure to crumble it before adding it to the rest of the ingredients.
Cover and leave the dough to rise for 2 hours. Prepare the almond cream and custard while waiting.
To prepare the almond cream, place all the ingredients in a food mixer and blend well. Set aside.
Begin making the custard by whisking together the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl. Add the cornstarch and blend until the mixture is pale yellow and thick.
Place the whole milk in a saucepan and add the vanilla beans by scraping them from the pod and discarding the pod afterwards. Warm the milk just before it begins to boil, without letting it boil. Take it off the heat.
Steadily and slowly, add the milk to the bowl with the sugar mixture, whisking constantly to avoid any curdling of the eggs. When you have mixed everything together, pour it back into the saucepan and return to the stove. Over medium heat, cook the mixture until it has thickened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. If you wish, you can transfer the custard to a strainer and push gently through to remove any bits of curdled egg.
Once the custard has cooled completely, gently mix it together with the almond cream until well blended. Set aside.
When you are ready to make the snurrer, preheat the oven to 225°C/425°F. Place the dough on a well-floured surface. Roll the dough out to a large rectangle, about 18×24 inches / 45×60 cm.
Cover the dough with the almond custard mixture, right to the edges.
Take the plum jam and place on top of the almond custard in vertical lines (top of the rectangle down to the bottom), evenly spaced across the dough with spacing of approximately 4 inches / 10 cm. *If the jam is a bit thick, just warm it a little in a saucepan over the stove to make it easier to spread.
Begin rolling the dough gently horizontally, from left to right. You may need to add some flour to the bottom of the dough as you roll if you find it is sticking a little. When you have finished rolling, take a sharp knife and divide into approximately 18 pieces.
On a prepared baking sheet, place half of the pieces and bake for 12-15 minutes. Finish baking the rest of the snurrer and let them cool (I think they taste better when they have had some time to sit and absorb the flavors).
After the snurrer have cooled, you can freeze them for later. Just reheat in the oven for a couple of minutes at 200°C/400°F. They will also last for a couple of days in the refrigerator.