I’ve always loved the name of these, and there has always been something dangerously attractive about the whole wasp element of this dish. Also, these buns looked very much like the stuff we’d see in foreign films. Were there Swedish cinnamon rolls in Ingmar Bergman films? Maybe not. Were they in the incredibly popular Astred Lindgren Karlsson-on-the-Roof cartoon adaptations? The Moomins?! Either way, they looked exotic and fed my fantasies of living somewhere abroad when it was still a risky and unrealistic thought.
- 50 g (2 oz) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 15 g (½ oz) fresh yeast
- 2 egg yolks
- 250 ml (8 fl oz) warm milk
- 500 g (1 lb) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 100 g (3½ oz) granulated sugar
- 50 g (2 oz) pecan nuts, crushed
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.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4, and butter a 24 cm (9½ inch) round cake tin.
Work the caster sugar, salt and vanilla extract into the yeast with a fork in a bowl, helping the yeast to dissolve. Add the egg yolks and work these in to form a paste.
Add the milk (make sure it’s only slightly warm, otherwise the yeast will die), sift in the flour and mix it into a soft dough.
Generously flour the work surface and knead the dough briefly. Make sure the surface is well floured and then roll the dough out as thinly as you can.
Brush the dough with the softened butter (I just use my hand), then evenly sprinkle over the granulated sugar, followed by the crushed nuts.
Roll up the sheet to create a long sausage, then cut it across into 15–20 pieces. Don't worry if you have some baby ones, they'll add to the charm.
Arrange them pretty side up in a haphazard manner in the greased cake tin. Bake for about 30–40 minutes, making sure you don’t open the oven door prematurely. The buns should be plump and golden and dangerously inviting.
Recipe and image from Mamushka: Recipes from Ukraine and beyond by Olia Hercules (Hachette Australia, $39.99, hbk). View our Readable Feasts review and more recipes from the book here.