I have a confession. It is Shrove Tuesday and I do not like pancakes.
Ok so that is not strictly true. I like fluffy home made american style pancakes packed with fruit and served with maple syrup, its a favourite weekend breakfast and you will find a number of recipes on the blog.
What I do not like is the French style crepe, which is what most households will have on pancake day. Now this throws up a conundrum. There is not time to have yummy fluffy pancakes on a weekday, and having pancakes I associate with breakfast after my evening meal feels weird and also is essentially like having two meals at once. I considered american style pancakes two ways as my actual evening meal, one with bacon and one with sweet things but was not enamoured with the idea.
It was when flicking through one of my many cookbooks that the problem was solved. Signe Johansen, author of Scandilicious baking tells us that in Scandinavia cardamom buns filled with vanilla cream and marzipan are eaten on Shrove Tuesday. In the book she offers a variation of these buns, instead of cream they are filled with an almond custard.
The almond custard are the version I have decided to make as they are much easy to adapt to be lactose free. Shrove Tuesday goodies sorted!
Almond custard filled cardamom buns (adapted from Scandilicious baking)
80ml lactose free semi skimmed milk
125g plain flour or white spelt flour (I used spelt)
15g caster sugar
Seeds from 5 cardamom pods, crushed with a pestle and mortar
1/2 sachet of fast action yeast
pinch of salt
100ml lactose free semi skimmed milk
10g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
15g blanched almonds
First up make the bun dough. Gebtly heat the butter and milk until just below boiling point, but do not bring to the boil. Set aside to cool.
Mix the flour, sugar crushed cardamom pods, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Once the milk has cooled to room temperature add to the dry ingredients and mix until all the ingredients come together and are 'doughy'.
At this point I placed two thirds of the dough in a lightly oiled frezer bag in the fridge to ferment overnight. I did this so we could have freshly baked buns on Shrove Tuesday. The remaining dough was placed in a lightly oiled bowl, covered with clingfilm and left to rise until doubled in size. If you prefer you could place all the dough in the fridge ready for you the next day or leave all of it to rise at room temperature if you are making them for consumption on the same day.
While the dough is proving make the custard. In a bowl whisk together the egg yolk, caster sugar, cornflour and vanilla. Gently heat the milk until just below boiling. Add the milk a little at a time to the egg yolk mix, whisking all the time. Pour the all the custard back into the pan and, stirring all the time, heat gently until very thick. Transfer the very thick custard to a clean bowl and cover the surface of the custard directly with clingfilm to prevent a skin forming.
Roughly chop the almonds and toast them in a frying pan until they are lightly golden and smell amazing. Crush them up a bit more, I did this in a pestle and mortar then stir through the custard.
When ready to make the buns divide the dough into 6 equal pieces (if the dough has been in the fridge allow to come to room temperature). Roll into balls and place onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover, leave in a warm place, and allow the buns to prove for 15-20 minutes until they do not spring back when pressed lightly . During this time preheat the oven to 200C/180C FAN.
Just before baking glaze the top of each bun with a little beaten egg and splash a little water in the bottom of the oven to create steam. Bake for 10-15 minutes, turning the oven down 20 degrees if the buns start to colour too much.
The cooked buns will be golden and sound hollow when you tap them. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack then simply slice and fill with cold custard.
I can confirm that the flavour of these are absolutely delicious, the custard in particular is divine. I will update this post tomorrow and let you know if the slow prove makes any huge difference to the flavour. I suspect it will make a huge difference to the texture, I think they will be lighter.
UPDATE: The buns left in the fridge overnight were a little lighter in texture and tasted really good.