Happy May Day!
Growing up, May Day meant filling little paper baskets with dandelions and a couple of hard candies, then anonymously leaving them on the doorknob of friends and neighbors. It was a sweet gesture. Really now, who doesn’t like free dandelions?
In Norway (and I imagine, much of Europe), May Day is more commonly known as “Worker’s Day”. Or, as my husband calls it, “Communist Day”. As far as exciting holidays go, it’s right up there with Columbus Day. Not a whole lot happens beyond the occasional parade and political speech. All the stores are closed on the 1st of May- even the lowly retail workers have the day off…a concept that hasn’t really caught on in the land of the free.
And of course, it’s another official day to hang the old red, white, and blue.
May Day buns, anyone?
A traditional cardamom-flavored roll baked with a pocket of sour cream and blueberries. The original recipe comes from Norway’s 2009 cookbook of the year (sorry, no link in English to be found) and a place a girl can daydream for hours about. The bakery in Lom makes their buns with black currants, which would certainly be delicious too, as would fresh or frozen raspberries, blackberries, or even slices of peach or plum.
As with most yeast-driven baked goods, these require a little bit of your time and hands-on skill. But really, they’re pretty straightforward to make and worth any sort of sweat you may break. Start these puppies early in the morning, or, if you’re all for exuding as little amount of energy (labor) as possible on “worker’s day”, start them the night before and allow them a nice, slow rise in the fridge overnight. These are delicious right out of the oven, but I prefer them at room temp after they’ve had time to cool and the sour cream has fully set.
Into 'buns' like me?
May Day Buns with Blueberries and Sour Cream
Første mai boller med blåbær og rømme
Recipe from Bakeriet I Lom
*Makes one dozen 5” (12 cm) buns
3 1/2 cups (500 g) All-Purpose flour
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
1/3 cup (75 g) sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (use 1/2 tsp for a milder flavor)
1 oz. (25 g) fresh yeast (or 1 1/4 teaspoon dry instant yeast)
2.5 oz/5 Tablespoons (75 g) butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
Sour Cream (or crème fraiche)Blueberries, fresh or frozen, preferably wild (see possible alternative berries and fruits above)
+ 1 whisked egg for brushing over tops before baking and extra sugar for sprinkling
1. Place the first seven ingredients (through the yeast) in a large bowl and stir well with a wooden spoon or electric mixer.
2. Add the pieces of butter and work them into the dough, kneading until they are no longer visible- about 10 minutes.
3. Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to double in size, either on the counter top or in the refrigerator overnight.
4. Divide the dough into a dozen pieces (the size of a small fist). Place them on a flour-dusted countertop and cover with plastic. Allow to rise 30 minutes.
5. Using a rolling pin, roll each ball of dough out into rounds about 5 inches (12 cm) in diameter. Place on 2 baking sheets, cover with plastic, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about one hour.
6. Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Brush each bun with the whisked egg, then make indentations in the centers of each with the back of a spoon. Place 1 tablespoon of sour cream in the indentations, then top with about 2 tablespoons of blueberries.7. Sprinkle each bun with a teaspoon or so of sugar before baking for 10-15 minutes. Take the buns out once the edges become golden-brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack.