Easter Buns from my Dad’s Dad’s Dad
Easter is almost here!! Typically around this time of year, ovens are filled with hot cross buns. And usually, we are part of the hot cross bun entourage, making the home smell like fresh bread and icing them with crosses. But this year, I wanted to try something a little different. I still wanted to make bread, of course, because bread = life. My Dad’s Dad’s Dad (aka my great-grandpa) is from Slovenia and I’ve been researching different recipes from that region. There’s a lot of dairy (ouch, my tummy no likey) and a ton of pork (nooo thank you) in Slovenian cooking. But I came across these Slovenian Easter buns and thought, this is perfect!
My Grandpa’s Dad fought in World War I and when the army gave him money to go home, he faced a decision. Go home to Slovenia and work on his father’s farm for the rest of his life… or take the money and leave for the promised land of America. He wrote a letter back home saying good-bye forever and he took off for a new world across the other side of the globe. He began working in a coal mine in Montana and eventually made his way to Centralia, Washington to start his own farm. I wonder if he ever enjoyed a version of these Easter buns himself?
These Slovenian buns are heartier than hot cross buns, full of dried fruit and nuts. They have a texture closer to scones, being dense and chewy and so delicious! Thank you, ancestors, for creating these amazing bun buns!
Easter Traditions Around the World
There are so many interesting Easter traditions around the world. Go to France and you can enjoy a giant omelet! Or head to Brazil to be able to beat up a straw Judas doll in the streets. This year, I dyed eggs naturally with kitchen scraps!
Whether you have Spring traditions or none at all, these Slovenian Easter buns are super tasty and I highly recommend baking up a batch to munch on. They are delicious when warm with some butter and jam spread on top for breakfast. Or pack a few as a midday snack at work, on a hike or just in your living room.
The recipe for these is based on eCurry’s Velikonocni Kruhki recipe.
Slovenian Easter Buns
- 1 cup dates, roughly chopped into raisin-sized pieces
- 1 cup raisins (for sweeter buns) or dried cranberries (for a tart kick)
- ⅓ cup warm milk (or dairy free milk)
- 2½ tsp active dry yeast (one envelope)
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 6 Tbsp butter, melted in the microwave and set out to cool a bit
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup almonds, ground up in a blender or food processor until it forms a pretty fine mixture
- 1 lemon
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp water
- In a small bowl, cover the dates and raisins or dried cranberries (or a mix of dried fruit you like) with hot water and let them soak.
- In another small bowl warm the milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds, until it is the temperature of a warm bath. Stir in the yeast and granulated sugar. Let is sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until it is bubbly and the yeast has "bloomed".
- In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the bubbly yeast mixture, flour, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, powdered sugar, melted butter, almond extract and salt. Mix it with a wooden spoon or a paddle attachment on a stand mixer until it forms a soft dough.
- Drain the dates and raisins or dried cranberries and mix them into the dough along with the ground almonds and the juice and zest of one lemon.* *If you want your buns sweeter and less tart, only add the juice and not the zest.
- Knead the dough for about 10 minutes by hand or about 5 minutes with the dough hook attachment on a stand mixer. If the dough feels sticky, add an additional tablespoon of flour and knead it in. The dough should feel stretchy and firm, not sticky.
- Form the dough into a ball and cover it in the mixing bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Place it in a warm place, like in the oven with the light on. Let the dough rise until it doubles in size, for about 5 to 6 hours.
- Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Lightly flour a clean work surface and dump the dough ball out. Knead it for about 3 minutes.Separate the dough into equal-sized balls (about 9 to 12 depending on how big or small you want them) and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Whisk the egg yolk with the teaspoon of water. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash.Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, until the buns are golden brown. Enjoy!