Skoleboller, or skolebrød, translates into “school buns” or “school” bread, and are sweet cardamom buns, filled with a vanilla custard in the middle, decorated with confectioners sugar glaze and shredded coconut. I know, right? I don’t even have to put a picture up and you go “wow!!” Cardamom is a beloved spice in baked goods in Scandinavia – I love this about our pastries, because it doesn’t make them so cloyingly sweet which is sometimes the case with similar treats from other countries. Norwegians pride themselves on being great bakers, and I think this creation proves why.
Skoleboller used to be put in children’s lunch boxes as a special treat, hence the name. I remember being overly excited when my mom (on special days) took me to the bakery after school and I was allowed to have a skolebolle. This was something my mom would never bake at home – probably because it is a somewhat laborious task, and was also considered ‘kid food’ and my parents wouldn’t really eat them (they clearly didn’t know what they were missing!). My other theory is that it’s impossible to have just one of these babies, so of course having them at home could prove problematic..
Skoleboller is a wonderful pastry to prepare for your guests who are coming over – with our without children – and is amazing with a cup of hot cocoa, or of course: that mandatory black cup of coffee Norwegians love so much!!
The key is to plan ahead when making these, as they do require some time for the yeast to rise in the dough. But mark my words: it’s well worth it, and they also freeze well and you can make a batch to last for several occasions. When I had a stand at the farmers market in Brooklyn, NY to promote my company Fork and Glass (click on the name to visit my FB page for more updated, fun tips, photos and recipes from Norway), they were always the first items to go in the morning and people got mad when I didn’t bring them or ran out! They are also not available in any bakery that I know of in New York.
Here’s my very special recipe which makes awesome skoleboller – best when enjoyed fresh out of the oven!
WORLD’S BEST SKOLEBOLLER
2 1/2 cups milk
200 grams/1 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 big teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tsp baking powder
100 grams fresh yeast or 2 packets dry yeast (5 tsp)
about 2 lbs all purpose flour
1 egg for brushing the buns
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 small egg white, lightly whisked
1 cup shredded coconut flakes
To make buns:
Preheat oven to 425F.
Melt the butter and milk in a pot and heat until it reaches about 98-100 degrees Fahrenheit. Crumble in the yeast and whisk to combine. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together (leave some of the flour out in case it’s not needed), add the eggs and pour in the yeast milk mixture. Knead /combine to a smooth dough. Place a towel over bowl and set aside in a warm spot to rise about 1 hour or until double in size.
Punch the dough down and divide into four equal pieces. Roll out the pieces to a link about 20 inches, cut pieces as large as you think you want the buns (about 3 inch rounds might be a good start). Roll each piece into buns and place on prepared baking sheets. Let rise again for another 30 -45 minutes under a towel. Brush the buns with the egg. Make an indent in the center of the buns and place a spoonful of custard in the middle. Bake in oven for about 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Take them out of oven and let cool. Brush with the glaze and sprinkle shredded coconut on top of glaze. See below for note about custard.
Here you can cheat and just use ready made vanilla custard, or – here’s a home made recipe, adapted from epicurious.com:
- 3 cups whole milk
- 8 large egg yolks
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Heat milk in a 2 1/2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not boiling.
While milk heats, whisk together yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heatproof bowl until smooth.
Add 1 cup hot milk to yolk mixture in a stream, whisking, then add remaining milk, whisking constantly. Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and registers 170°F on thermometer, 6 to 10 minutes (do not boil).
Immediately force custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and stir in butter and vanilla. Chill custard, its surface covered with wax paper, until cold and thickened, at least 3 hours.
(Image is borrowed from matoppskrift.no)