Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dutch Currant Buns


I  would probably have a collection of Hermès bags in my closet, if I had a penny for every time someone complained about how horrible Dutch food is. I've written about this subject before, so I am definitely not going to write a long post telling you how much I love the hearty meat-and-potato dishes and thick stews that characterize the cuisine (yes, I call it cuisine) of The Netherlands.
Instead I'll tell you about one of my favorite Dutch treats- krentenbollenKrentenbollen are sweet, vanilla-scented currant buns.  People usually have them for breakfast here. I love them at just about  any moment of the day, preferably with a good slice of Dutch cheese (and as much as I love French cheese, I also give props to the many delicious cheeses we have here).
I came up with this recipe after a moment of just plain laziness (and sudden inspiration).  I was craving a yummy currant bun, but was so not in the mood to head out to the supermarket.  And yes, I was however, not too lazy to make them myself.  The mysterious ways of a cooking addict should never be questioned!
Here is what I came up with.  For those of you who know what a krentenbol tastes like, be warned.  These plump litte suckers are denser than the ones from the shop.  Eat them warm, smothered with thick, creamy butter.

For approximately 20 currant buns 
250 g currants, washed
100 g butter
225 ml milk
1 tsp vanille extract
2 eggs
600 g all-purpose flour, plus some extra
2 packets yeast (7 g per packet)
70 g light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
For the glaze
1 egg
2 tsps milk
  1. Put the currants in a pan with hot water and allow them to sit fora bout 15 minutes so that they plump up nicely.
  2. Put the butter and the milk in a small saucepan, allowing the butter to melt into the milk on a low fire. Once the butter is melted, take the pan off the heat and add the vanilla extract and the eggs.  Beat gently.
  3. Drain the currants.
  4. Sift the flour over a large bowl. Add the yeast, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Stir well.  Add the currants and stir again.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well with a wooden spoon. The mixture is probably too wet, so add a little more flour.  You don’t want to make them too dry either!  Flour your hands and knead the dough while it is still in the bowl!
  6. Flour your working surface, transfer the dough there and knead for about five minutes. The dough should be soft. Not too wet and not too dry. Shape the dough into a ball and sprinkle with a little flour.
  7. Wash and dry the bowl.  Transfer your dough to the bowl, cover with cling film and also with a clean tea towel.  Put your bowl in a warm, draught-free area and allow to rise for an hour and a half.
  8. Punch down the dough, transfer to your working surface and knead for a minute or so.
  9. Cover a baking sheet with baking paper.  Make dough balls the size of prunes and put them on the baking tray leaving a little space between each one.
  10. Cover the buns with cling film and the tea towel and allow to rise for another 45 minutes.
  11. Preheat the oven to 200°C.  Whisk the egg and the milk and brush a little of this ixture over the buns.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Keep on eye on them to make sure they don’t brown too quickly.  In that case, you can cover them with a little foil.  Serve warm with a pat (or two) of the best butter you can get!