Lavender Skoleboller (Lavender Custard Buns)

We’re very lucky in Edinburgh to have a huge number and variety of interesting international restaurants, cafes, bakeries and delis. It’s easy to feel a bit spoilt for choice! Two of my favourites are La Garrigue on Jeffery St (http://www.lagarrigue.co.uk/), and Peter’s Yard on Middle Meadow Walk (http://www.petersyard.com/).

La Garrigue is a fantastic little French restaurant serving rustic Languedoc cuisine in a warm and inviting setting, tucked away from the hectic bustle of the city centre. I’ve been there numerous times over the years, and each and every time I have the same pudding; Lavender Crème Brulee. It is rich, aromatic, creamy, and utterly heavenly. The satisfying crack of the burned sugar crust releases a waft of warm air straight from the lavender fields of the French heartlands. Bliss!

Peter’s Yard is wonderfully located in the new(ish) Quartermile development, just of Middle Meadow Walk. The high ceilings and full-height windows of three sides make it the perfect people-watching haunt, and it is usually (quite rightly) packed! The food, however, is the real draw. Peter’s Yard specializes in Scandinavian bakery; crisp breads, sourdoughs, pastries, cakes galore. If baked goods are your bag, then there is no way you will be left wanting – as a full-blown bakery-bag, I should know!

And so, in the night, these two wonderful places gave birth in my brain to Lavender Skoleboller. And as sheer luck would have it, I got a packet of dried lavender flowers in my Foodie Penpals package a few days ago (a full post re Foodie Penpals on 29th June).

Traditionally Swedish Skoleboller are cardamom flavoured buns with a vanilla custard centre, and I sourced the basic recipe from: http://www.leftoverqueen.com/2009/05/25/recipe-skoleboller-or-norwegian-cardomom-and-custard-buns

Image

Lavender Skoleboller (Lavender Custard Buns)
Recipe makes about 14- 6” buns or 24- 4” buns (or 40 small buns!)
(recipe can easily be halved)

For the buns:
480ml milk (preferably full-fat, but 1% or 2% will work too), luke warm
50 gram Fresh yeast, or 2 tbs active dry yeast
100 grams butter, melted and cooled
115g caster sugar
650- 750 grams Plain flour

For the lavender custard:
4 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
420ml full-fat milk
1 tbs dried lavender flowers
1 tbs cornstarch
1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the luke warm milk. Add the melted (and cooled) butter, the sugar, and 5 cups (550 grams) of the flour. Blend well.

2. Slowly add more flour until a smooth, slightly sticky dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured work surface and knead for a minute or two until a soft dough is formed. Add another tablespoon or two of flour, if needed to prevent sticking.

3. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic, leave in a warm place, and allow to rise to double its’ size, about 1 hour.

This would be a good time to make your vanilla custard (ingredients above and instructions below):

4. Punch the dough down, divide into small balls (12-14 will make the traditional, large skoleboller, while 22-24 will make nice, Weight Watchers portions, or, if you’re me and miscalculate entirely – 40 of varying sizes!).

5. Form each ball into an evenly round, flat bun. Place on a parchment-lined baking tray with at least an inch between each one. Cover with a clean dishcloth and allow to make a second rise for about 20 minutes. In the mean time, preheat oven to 400F (200C).

6. After the 20 minute rising period is up, use the back of a spoon to create a good-sized indentation in the center of each bun (about the size of a soup spoon).

7. Place a generous spoonful of the egg custard in the center of each indentation. Bake on the bottom rack for 10-12 minutes. Take your skoleboller out when they begin to slightly brown on the tops and the egg custard is just starting to set.

8. Allow to cool on a wire rack. The custard will set a bit once cooled down.


To make the lavender custard:

1. Soak the lavender flowers in the milk overnight.

2. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together very well.

3. Bring the whole milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Slowly pour the egg yolk mixture into the milk, whisking briskly. Strain off the lavender flowers and return the milk to the pan.

4.While your egg and milk mixture is still simmering, add the cornstarch, little-by-little, whisking briskly. Allow the cornstarch to fully dissolve and the custard to thicken while stirring the entire time. It will take about 3- 5 minutes for the custard to thicken enough.

5. Allow to cool on a ice water bath.

 I wasn’t 100% happy with the custard for this – the flavour was good if delicate, but the texture was a bit grainy. I’m not sure whether this was because I had done something wrong, but I think in future I might just use a custard as per a Creme Brulee recipe. This one works well enough for a first go, though!

As you’ll see in the photo, I’ve added crushed toasted almonds to the top of a few of these buns, just for a bit of variety. I’ll make these again, to the proper scale, and I think what I’ll do is add a bit of pear at the bottom of the dent before adding the custard – I suspect pear and lavender would go quite well together!

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Have never thought of adding lavender to baked goods. What a sweet idea.

    Reply

  2. Posted by afracooking on 28/08/2012 at 19:50

    oh what a lovely idea…..lavender custard! I can smell it I can taste it – thank you so much for sharing this!

    Reply

    • Glad you like it 🙂 As I think I said in the post, I’d use a slightly different recipe for the custard than this one (to avoid the granular texture) but the flavour works very well.

      Reply

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