My relationship with pumpkin is getting serious, ahem. Well, after baking cakes and cookies with pumpkin puree, I started to wonder how it would taste and look in a dough. This curiosity ended up with cinnamon and pecan rolls. But I’d like to talk more about the sauce now, more specifically, the brown cheese in the sauce.
It was 2012 when I first tasted, and even heard about, one of the most iconic stuffs that came out of Norway: brunost, aka brown cheese. My friend Burcu from university was living in Bergen, Norway at that time and she visited me for a weekend, bringing with her this cheese which was her favourite in her life there.
Seeing a brown cheese was weird at first. It looked and felt like she brought a caramel spread or maybe a bit chocolatey thing with her. Then we took it out of its package and oh my that first bite was amazing! I love cheese but that was not really a cheese for me and it was also like a very tasty cheese at the same time!
After that initial encounter though, I kind of forgot about it because I thought it was a local product and that I wouldn’t be able to find it in Helsinki. Turned out, I was wrong. I accidentally bumped into it in the cheese counter at Stockmann Herkku and jumped at it! Ever since, I’ve been looking for ways to use it in recipes, other than just putting it on a slice of bread (which is a very delicious thing to do, believe me). This caramelised sauce version just did the job perfectly as it goes great with pumpkin. Also good with pumpkin are pecans so I added pecans into the equation as well and mixed it in the filling together with cinnamon. The original recipe is from Food Wishes blog, but I changed it with my own twists and used the brown cheese sauce and the pecans.
Brunost has an interesting (hi)story. Look it up. But in the meantime, I recommend this beautiful article on The New Yorker about it: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/ode-to-norwegian-brown-cheese
Enjoy your lovely orange coloured rolls and brown cheese sauce with some fresh tea or coffee. Don’t forget to purchase a bit more brown cheese than you need for the sauce so that you can enjoy some of the rest on a lovely slice of bread!
Difficulty: ★★★ (Advanced)
(makes 16 rolls)
4 tbsp very warm water (warmest tap water would do, no need for boiling water)
2.5 tsp dry yeast
1/2 tsp granulated white sugar
1 cup / 2.4 dl pumpkin puree (for details about where to find it in Helsinki or what to do if you can’t find it, check my previous blogpost)
4 tbsp milk
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled a little
1/2 tsp vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract, if you have some)
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
4 tbsp granulated white sugar
4 cups / 9.6 dl all-purpose flour
a little vegetable oil (not olive oil) to coat the dough bowl
3/4 cup / 1.8 dl brown sugar
4 tbsp granulated white sugar
50 gr. roasted and coarsely ground pecans
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
5 tbsp butter, melted and cooled a little
1 dl milk
2 tbsp syrup (for example maple, rice or agave)
150 gr. brunets, brown cheese, cubed or better yet, grated
1. In a mixing bowl, put warm water, yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar and give it brief mix. Let it sit for 10 minutes so that the yeast can activate.
2. After 10 minutes, the mixture will be foamy. Into it, add pumpkin puree, milk, salt, melted butter, vanilla, allspice, ginger and 4 tbsp sugar.
3. Add half of flour and using the dough hook of your mixer, start kneading (you can do this by hand too if you don’t have an electric mixer).
4. While mixer is running, add egg and continue mixing until you have a smooth mixture.
5. Add the rest of the flour and continue mixing / kneading until the dough starts coming off the sides of the bowl.
6. Flour your work surface just a little and continue kneading for 5-6 minutes until you have a smooth dough that is slightly sticky.
7. Coat a clean bowl with a little vegetable oil. Put cover the dough with the oil and leave it in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a stretch film and leave the dough to rise and get double in size in a warm part of your kitchen. It will take about 1 hour.
8. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl put brown sugar, white sugar, pecans and cinnamon and give it a good mix. Put aside.
9. While the dough is rising, prepare also the caramelised cheese sauce. In a small saucepan, put milk and syrup and warm it a little on medium heat. Add cubed or grated cheese and using a whisk, melt the cheese in syrupy milk. Once all cheese is melted, take it away from heat and pour it in a mini jug so that it will be easy to spread on the buns when they are ready. Put the jug in a cool spot in your kitchen so that it cools down to room temperature.
10. When your dough is doubled in size, put a little flour on your work surface and dump the dough on it. Flour the surface of the dough a little to help. Using your hands, give the dough a rectangle shape, then roll the dough to size 30x50cm.
11. Melt 5 tbsp butter and cool it down a little. Brush the rolled dough with melted butter generously, but leave just a little bit of butter to brush the surface of rolls before baking. Also, leave 1 cm thick part of rectangle’s long side further from you without butter while brushing the dough.
12. Spread the buttered part of dough with filling. Cover unbuttered dough with some water using your fingers. Start rolling the dough tightly, from long side of rectangle that is close to you, ending up with unbuttered part of dough at the bottom. Thanks to having it wet with water, it will stick the rolled dough, sealing it off.
13. Cut off the two ends of rolled dough a little to give the roll a smooth sausage shape. Slice the rolled dough in half and continue slicing each piece in half again and again until you have 16 slices.
14. Put the rolls on a buttered mold giving a large space between each piece. Cover the mold with a stretch film and let the rolls proof for a final time.
15. While rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 200C.
16. When everything is ready, brush the surface of each roll with butter left from step 11. Bake in the oven, in middle rack, for 30 minutes.
17. When the rolls are baked, take them out of the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes. After that, pour the caramelised sauce on each piece, just enough to get them moist but do not pour too much otherwise they will get soggy. Leave the buns to absorb the sauce for 10 minutes inside the mold and then take them out. Eat as fresh as possible. Enjoy!