Kikalech Mit Yagdish - Blueberry Bun Reboot

There were these blueberry buns that my American-born mother used to make for my Polish-born father. Blueberries were cradled in a slightly sweet raised dough. Because of their oval shape, my sister and I dubbed them "blueberry footballs."  "Way back when" you could only get fruit in season, so we only enjoyed these footballs during around one month each summer when east coast blueberries were at their peak.

Nowadays you can get just about any fruit any time of the year. But the best fruit is local, and blueberries are at the height of the season. Which brings me back to "blueberry footballs." Every time this year I try to recreate that elusive taste. The blueberry buns had I posted 3 years ago were made with challah dough. And they were good. But not quite.

As an a side, while doing some blueberry bun surfing I found this 2003 term paper-like review about the history of the Toronto Blueberry Bun. Go read it, then come back. I'll wait.

Fast forward to the present. On one of the Facebook groups I belong to, a member posted a photo of blueberry rolls that looked awfully familiar. It was those footballs ... I mean Blueberry buns! I contacted Lin and asked her about those buns of hers (so to speak). She said she used the dough from a Swedish coffee bread recipe. I mentioned that I thought the buns were a Polish recipe since my mother made them for my Polish father. Lin replied that although she was from Sweden, her mother, who used to make them, was born in Poland!

Lin was gracious in providing me her recipe below for Kikalech Mit Yagdish, which in Yiddish literally means cookie (or cake), with berry (note: there are zillions of transliterations for Yiddish words, your mileage and spelling may vary).  Although this is a dairy version of these wonderful rolls, Lin assured me that she has made it using almond milk and margarine and it came out quite fine.

Yup ... Lin was right.

Be sure to give the rolls plenty of room on the baking sheet, at least 2 inches of space in between each.  Lin warned me that they take the terms "open a bit" and "ooze" literally.

Kikalech mit Yagdish (Blueberry Rolls)
From Lin Doneson Koperwas, adapted from Simply Recipes
Yield: 18-24 rolls 

Sweet roll dough
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, cut up
2-pkg active yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
4 cups all purpose flour, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. table salt
1 tsp. cardamom

1 pint blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, defrost completely)
3-4 Tbl. sugar
1 tsp. all purpose flour

Egg wash
2 egg yolks
2 Tbl. cream or milk

granulated sugar, for garnish

Cover 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Pour milk into a small saucepan and heat on medium heat until steamy (do not let boil).  turn off heat. Stir in the butter and sugar until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Pour into a mixing bowl. Mix in yeast mixture and beaten egg.

Mix in salt and cardamom. Slowly add in 2 cups of the flour. After the first two cups of flour are mixed in, gradually add more flour until a soft dough starts to form a ball and pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Continue to knead dough, either manually or in a stand mixer with a dough hook, for 7 to 10 minutes until smooth, adding more flour as needed to keep the dough from being too sticky. Note that the dough should remain soft, so take care not to add too much flour.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn dough to coat with oil, then covere with a clean tea-towel or with plastic wrap. Let rise for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Meanwhile combine filling ingredients in a 1-quart-sized bowl.  Combine egg wash ingredients in a small bowl.   Set both aside.

I used an on-the-rocks glass to make the circles.

Roll out dough on a floured surface (or on a silicone mat) to about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut out 3-4 inch circles with the rim of a wide glass or jar.

Stretch the circle a bit then top with about 10-14 berries (depending upon berry size) in the center.  Bring up edges and pinch together firmly so they look like oval footballs kinds sorta (think hamantaschen, but with two sides).  Let one berry peak out, if desired.

Place buns a couple inches apart on prepared cookie sheet.   Cover lightly with plastic wrap. Let rise again for about 45-60 min.  

Yup ... some did open "a bit."

Brush with egg wash, then sprinkle with granulated sugar, if desired.  Bake in preheated 350F oven for about 25-30 minutes or until  golden brown. Some will open a bit and ooze blueberries but that is part of their charm. 

Lots o'charm ...

Store leftovers tightly covered at room temperature.  The buns will soften a bit the next day,  but will still taste awesome.


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