Finnish cuisine is full of different kinds of delicious “pulla”s. These are basically buttery buns with cardamom, which is the most Nordic ingredient ever. Some also have cinnamon, some have more butter than the others, some have extra sugar on top, some have cream in between… Their common characteristic is that they are all extremely delicious and they all look very elegant.
These “butter eye” pullas are maybe one of the most elegant ones. Even though just thinking about the amount of butter that goes into these buns give me a headache, I like to eat (or bake) one every now and then. I mean, there is a lot of butter in the dough already, but then there is extra butter put right in the middle of each bun (hence the name butter eye) before they are baked. Oi! Luckily butter makes everything better!
I adapted this recipe from K-rhymä. I made a bit of adjustment with the ingredients and I added the pearl sugar on top because they look so much more elegant this way. Most of the time I saw no extra cardamom in the buttery filling in the middle when I bought these buns from bakeries. But in the original recipe I adapted from, there was cardamom both in the dough and in the filling and I liked the idea much more as I absolutely love cardamom.
These lovely buns grow forever! The ones I made here are quite a big portion each (92 gr.) and one batch of dough makes 20 buns. You can perfectly make half size, 45-46 gr. buns and have 40 buns. In some cases the big buns are too heavy because of the size.
Enjoy your butter eyes! And remember to have some more exercise when you eat one (or more) of those!!
Difficulty: ★★☆ (Medium)
(makes 20 big buns, each about 92-93 gr. Make 40 smaller buns if you like, each 45-46 gr.)
5 dl. lukewarm milk
1 package / 50 gr. fresh yeast
200 gr. butter
2 dl. granulated white sugar
2 tbsp cardamom
2 tsp salt
16 dl. / about 1050 gr. all-purpose flour
100 gr. butter, very soft
4 tbsp granulated white sugar
2 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tsp cardamom
1 egg to wash
granulated white sugar to sprinkle on top
pearl sugar to sprinkle on top
1. In a large mixing bowl, put lukewarm milk and crumble fresh yeast into the milk. Whisk a little and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
2. Melt butter in a pot and let it cool.
3. Add sugar and cardamom into milk mixture and whisk a little.
4. Add egg, salt and melted butter and continue whisking. Butter will be still quite warm so be sure to be constantly whisking while adding it, otherwise you might accidentally cook the egg.
5. Add flour little by little while whisking in between each batch.
6. After adding all the flour (or almost all the butter) continue kneading by hand. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and continue kneading it for 5-6 minutes until you get a soft and not much sticking dough. If the dough sticks on the surface, add just a little bit of flour to help you keep kneading, but do not add too much dough at a time. When you have the good consistency of dough, put it in a slightly floured clean bowl and cover it with a stretch film. Put the bowl in a warm spot in your kitchen and let it rise to be double in size (takes about 45 minutes / 1 hour).
7. While you are waiting for dough to rise, make the filling. Add sugar, vanilla sugar and cardamom to soft butter and mix them all using a fork or a spoon to get a smooth cream.
8. Put the buttery cream on a piece of stretch film and shape it into a thin log. Put the log in the freezer until you need it.
9. When the dough is doubled, take it out of the bowl.
10. Lightly flour your work surface. Transfer the dough gently onto the surface and cut 92 (or 45 gr.) pieces. You can think of 92 gr. as a quite small orange or a large mandarin. Make balls out of cut pieces.
11. Put the balls on baking trays with baking sheet on. Cover with clean kitchen towels and let them proof for 30 minutes.
12. Take butter filling out of freezer and cut equal size pieces (20 or 40, according to the number of your buns). Put it back to freezer so that they don’t get too soft.
13. Preheat the oven to 225C.
14. When the oven is ready and dough balls rise for 30 minutes, prepare them for oven: using your thumb, make a deep well in the middle of each bun. Press hard 1 piece of butter filling into each hole.
15. Brush the surface of the buns with beaten egg. Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp granulated white sugar on top of butter filling. Also sprinkle pearl sugar on the rest of the bun. Put the buns in the oven, in middle rack and bake for 12-15 minutes, until they nicely brown. Serve / eat warm with some coffee or tea. Enjoy!