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Monday, March 7, 2011

Laskiaispullat, Traditional Fat Tuesday Pulla

This weekend we made traditional Fat Tuesday pulla, sweet rolls filled with almond paste and whipped cream.  Our kids look forward to these every year, but Easter is so late this year that it has been hard to wait.  

The ingredients for the buns are:

2 packages of yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons dry or 50g fresh)
7 Tablespoons butter (100g)
1 1/4 cups milk (3 dl)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 4 teaspoons sugar (1 dl)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
about 4 cups of flour (about 1 liter)

Melt the butter and warm the milk to lukewarm (I put it in the microwave for about a minute).  Do not get the milk too hot or the yeast will die and the bread won't rise.  Dissolve the yeast and stir in the salt, sugar, egg and baking powder.  I used my stand mixer and dough hook to knead in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough pulled away from the sides of the bowl.  It took the full 4 cups this time for me.

Then I moved the dough to a lightly greased non-metallic bowl to rise.

I sprinkled the dough with a little flour, covered it, and put it in a warm spot for about an hour, until it had about doubled in size.

Then punched down the dough and put it out on the lightly floured countertop to knead smooth.  This is such a warm and soft dough, really fun to work with.

I divided the dough into 16 approximately equal pieces, by cutting the dough in half, then in half again, then again...

I shaped each of these into a smooth ball by tucking the edges of the dough to the back side.  Then these  were covered and left to rise again, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 F (250 C).  Before baking, brush the buns with a little beaten egg so they will brown nicely.  Bake them for about 10 minutes, be careful because they burn easily.

After the buns are cool, carefully cut them open and pull out the soft bread in the middle. Save these middles to use in the filling.

This is the almond paste I used in the filling.  Solo also sells a sweetened kind, it would work, too.

Put the almond paste, reserved bread middles, and a couple tablespoons of milk in a food processor and process until it makes a smooth paste.

Divide the filling among the buns.  Right before serving, whip some cream and sweeten with a few tablespoons of powdered sugar.  These buns don't keep after the whipped cream is added...especially if you have teenagers...