With the Nordic Midsummer celebrations coming up later this week, it was the perfect occasion to share with you another Swedish recipe – today I baked Swedish Blueberry Buns or “blåbärsbullar”.
The tradition of Midsummer in Sweden is by far my very favorite one, very authentic, very Swedish, with the omnipresence of nature. If you want to learn more about this summer celebration, you can turn to my previous post from last year here, where you will even discover a very special recipe that comes along with a video, created especially for Midsummer last year: a Swedish cinnamon star bread.
While the Swedes love to travel abroad for almost every vacation they have (often in faraway and warm(er) destinations), they usually spend Midsummer, a three-day weekend in late June, in Sweden, somewhere in the countryside or in the archipelago, in a modest family wooden house called “stuga”. Almost every family owns one of these charming small houses, as a “summer house”.
We live in a very modern world where globalization makes most of the Western countries, people, and traditions look bland. I therefore cherish the idea to go back to our roots and celebrate century-old traditions in the same way we used to do “once upon a time”. In France, many of the traditions we once had have disappeared over the years unfortunately, and the younger generations often only hear about them. Sweden however strives to keep them alive, and this is something I really enjoy. Yes, call me “old fashioned” or “vintage”… but I think “sentimental” (and maybe also “nostalgic”) is more appropriate actually!
During Midsummer celebrations, food always takes the spotlight, together with drinks, songs and dances. Also, flowers and especially wreaths worn by girls and women are part of the festivities. To me, Midsummer celebration is also linked to nature and the wide array of wild berries we can find in the woods, among them strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.
The Swedes love to use berries in their desserts much to my taste buds’ delight. Berries are cute, they look beautiful on everything, they taste sweet, and they also have many health benefits (excellent source of vitamin C, antioxidant properties, etc.). I can’t find any reason not to eat berries, I just love them!
You probably know already two of the most famous Swedish baking specialties, number one being the Swedish cinnamon rolls “kanelbullar” (still number 1 recipe on my blog) and number two being the Swedish cardamom buns – my very favorite one. But did you know that there were also many other Swedish bun recipes? For instance, my cardamon buns with a twist of raspberries are a must try, and also this new version with blueberries and vanilla cream.
Blueberry buns (or “blåbärsbullar”) are actually a classic recipe for summer celebrations, after picking fresh blueberries in the woods. Jamie Oliver actually made a very fun video about what he called “Swedish sexy buns” that I highly recommend you watch: we can see him live struggling with the blueberries that spill their purple color all over his hands, but Jamie doesn’t care and still shows great enthusiasm when saying “I know it’s a mess”. Just hilarious! In the end, the recipe doesn’t look so good visually but is indeed really sexy and seems delicious!
I have tried different blueberry bun recipes, and my favorite are the ones that are also filled with vanilla cream or custard. Since I love cardamom too, I crafted this recipe especially for you today with blueberry, vanilla cream and cardamom all together in one bun, adding my little twist to the Swedish buns’ empire! The recipe has been tasted by a panel of Swedish people at the office, and they all approved the buns. They found the dough perfectly moist, and loved the combo blueberry-cardamom, with a touch a softness brought by the vanilla cream. Happy Midsummer to all of you!
- 35g fresh yeast
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1½ cup milk
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground cardamom
- 6 ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tbsp fresh ground cardamom
- 1-2 cups fresh small blueberries (avoid frozen ones)
- ¼ cup (60 ml) milk
- 1 vanilla pod
- 6 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp corn starch (maïzena)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp melted butter
- ½ cup sugar
- Crumble the yeast in a bowl and stir in a few tbsp of milk. Melt the butter and pour the milk on it. Add the rest of the ingredients and knead the dough for approx. 10-15 minutes (very important). Let the dough rise while covered at room temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- For the vanilla cream: mix all the ingredients in a saucepan. Let it simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until the custard had thickened. Let it cool.
- Roll out the dough into a large rectangle on a lightly floured surface.
- Blend together softened butter with sugar and freshly ground cardamom, and spread over half of the dough, lengthwise. Display the blueberries (choose them small) on top of it.
- Fold the dough so that the empty side covers the filled one.
- Make cuts in the dough, about 1 cm wide. Take 2 stripes at a time, and twist very carefully to make a rope, trying to avoid losing too many blueberries during the process. Fold into a sort of bun and place in a paper baking cup. Cover with a dishcloth and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
- Fill in a piping bag with the vanilla cream and top each bun with a generous dollop of cream.
- Bake the blueberry and vanilla buns in the oven to 420F (200 C) for about 10 minutes, until slightly golden brown.
- Combine melted butter with sugar and brush the buns with this mixture straight after you removes them from the oven Dip the buns into sugar to cover all sides. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely before serving.