Easy-to-Make Skolebrød (Norwegian Custard Buns)
Skolebrød is a delicious type of Norwegian sweet roll. The name simply means "school bread" and is called so due to its popularity with school-aged Norwegian children. Most people serve skolebrød as a dessert or a between-meal treat.
The following is a recipe altered from an original shared with me by a friend who grew up in Norway. Her recipe calls for homemade custard in the preparation. While the original recipe is great, I don't have a lot of patience making custard from scratch. So I was happy to discover that I could simplify that step by substituting instant pudding. The end result was still very yummy. What I like best about skolebrød is that the buns make for a delicate dessert that is not too heavy on the sugary sweetness.
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Approximate Prep and Baking Time
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cardamom, ground
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- 4 cups baking flour*
- 5.1 ounces (1 package) instant vanilla or French vanilla pudding mix, prepared with milk (note consistency instructions below)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons water
- 1-2 cups shredded coconut
*I recommend strictly using baking flour for this recipe. Substituting with all-purpose or self-rising flour typically makes for disappointing and unpredictable results in the texture of the finished buns.
- In a saucepan, combine the milk and butter. Stir over medium heat until a slight bubbling appears across the surface. Remove saucepan from heat. Cool until slightly warm. Pour liquid into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the yeast and sugar to the warm liquid and stir well. Allow this mixture to sit for 10 to 12 minutes (the yeast will cause bubbles to appear). Next, stir in the cardamom, cinnamon, and flour. Mix well until the dough begins to pull away from your bowl. Cover with a clean linen towel or cheesecloth and allow the dough to rest while it doubles in size (typically about 60 minutes).
- Once the dough has fully risen, punch it (gently) several times while it is still in the bowl. Afterward, turn over onto a floured wooden surface or clean floured counter. Knead the dough until it takes a shiny, smooth appearance.
- Roll the dough into a single thick cord. Cut this cord into pieces about 3-4 inches in length. Roll the pieces between your palms and form into bun shapes (similar to hole-less doughnuts). Place these on a lightly greased baking sheet.
- Cover the dough buns with clean, dry cloth. Allow them to rest and double in size (generally 30-40 minutes).
- Prepare the pudding mix, being sure to reduce milk content to only 2 ½ cups. Cover prepared pudding with plastic wrap and allow to thicken at room temperature.
- When the rising time for the buns is up, take a spoon and use the back to press a wide pit into the center of each bun. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the pudding into each pit. Allow the buns to rise (without covering) for 9-12 additional minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Beat the egg well. Brush the beaten egg across the sides and tops of the buns. Place the pan of buns in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes. The buns are ready when lightly browned but not crunchy.
- When finished baking, remove the pan from oven and allow buns to cool (12-15 minutes).
- In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar with water (1-2 tablespoons should do) and stir until a glaze is created. Brush this glaze across the surface of the buns, avoiding the pudding pits. Carefully roll the sides of the buns in the coconut, and finish off by sprinkling more coconut over the bun tops.
- Serve and enjoy.