These sweet buns are a staple in Norwegian childhood memories. Traditionally packed into school lunches or sold at cake stalls, they are the equivalent to the Australian finger (or sticky) buns with the addition of a deliciously creamy custard centre. Known as skoleboller in the western parts of Norway, in the northern and eastern parts they are better known as skolebrød or ‘school bread’.
- 400 g (2 ⅔ cups) strong bread or pizza flour, plus extra to dust
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 7 g (1 sachet) dried yeast
- 1½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp salt
- 250 ml milk
- 50 g butter, diced, plus extra, melted, to grease
- 1 tsp natural vanilla essence or extract
- 1 egg, lightly whisked, to glaze
- 125 ml (½ cup) milk
- 125 ml (½ cup) pouring cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1½ tsp natural vanilla essence or extract
- 125 g (1 cup) pure icing sugar
- 3-3 ½ tsp water
- 45 g (½ cup) desiccated coconut, to sprinkle
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Proving time 1½ hours
Cooling time 30 minutes
Standing time 30 minutes
To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, cardamom and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Combine the milk and butter in a small saucepan and heat over low heat for 2-3 minutes or until the butter melts and the milk is lukewarm. Remove from heat and use a fork to whisk in the vanilla. Add to the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon and then your hands to mix to a soft dough.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic and springs back when you push your finger into it.
Brush a large bowl with melted butter to grease. Add the dough, turning it to coat lightly with the butter. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
To make the vanilla custard, place the milk and cream into a medium saucepan. Bring just to a simmer over a medium heat. Remove from heat. Use a balloon whisk to whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together in a heatproof bowl until well combined. Gradually whisk in the milk mixture until smooth and well combined. Return to the heat and stir constantly with the whisk over medium heat until the mixture comes to a simmer. Simmer, stirring constantly with the whisk, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pass the custard through a sieve into a heatproof bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Line two large baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
When the dough has doubled in size, knock it back by punching it in the centre with your fist. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Shape each portion into ball and place on the lined trays, leaving about 5 cm between each. Flatten each with the palm of your hand until about 2 cm thick and 8 cm in diameter. Use your fingers to make a large indent (about 4 cm wide) in the centre of the buns, leaving a 2 cm border. Use a balloon whisk to whisk the chilled vanilla custard and then spoon into the indents to fill. Brush the rolls with the extra beaten egg to glaze. Cover with a slightly damp tea towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes or until well risen.
Bake the buns for 20 minutes, swapping the trays halfway through baking, or until golden and sounding hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer to a wire rack to cool (this will take about 30 minutes).
To make the topping, sift the icing sugar into a medium bowl. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the water and mix to a thick paste. Spread the cooled buns with the icing around the custard. Sprinkle the icing with the coconut, avoiding the custard centre. Set aside for 20 minutes for the icing to set before serving.
• These buns are best eaten the day they are made.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O'Brien. Food preparation by Tina McLeish. Creative concept by Lou Fay.
Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. For hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
This recipe is part of our Bakeproof: Scandi baking.