Slovenian Easter Buns
Enjoy this delicious Slovenian Easter tradition - warm buns with nuts and dried fruit! They are delicious, comforting and perfect for any time of the day!
- 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!