My mother used to make us, what she called "Fruit Pizza" in the summertime. Usually the fruits were sliced peaches or plums placed on top of a sweet dough that had been stretched to fit a long baking sheet and then, a heavy sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon over the fruit; enough to feed a large family! Subsequently, I like to take her ideas and add my own twist because that's what she always encouraged me to do.
Today, I made up a quick brioche-like dough to create individual fruit pizzas or as I have named them--Strawberry Sweet Buns. I've started to see strawberries from California in the market, so I know they're pretty fresh and along with some of my homemade strawberry jam, from last summer, I knew this would be my choice of fruit. It's not to say, that peaches with some homemade peach jam, or raspberries with raspberry jam or blueberries with...well, you get the picture, wouldn't be just as good:-D
The garden strawberry was first cultivated in Brittany, France in the 1750s; prior to that, wild strawberries were the common source used in baking and preserving. I know my Sis would loved these sweet buns, as she was often caught in the strawberry patch at my grandparent's house! When we both lived in California, we could see acres of strawberry plants, around Oxnard, mound with black plastic covering their roots. Not only did that plastic keep weeding down, but it absorbs the sunshine and produces earlier crops by warming up the ground. The Strawberry Festival in Oxnard, California was an event held in May and we'd all looked forward to, not only the attractions, but the wonderful treats made from strawberries. My daughters' favorite was "fried dough" with strawberries and whipped cream on top. These sweet buns do bring back that memory as well...baked, not fried, of course:-D
Strawberry Sweet Buns
1 T. dry Saf-instant Gold Yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 tsp. honey
Mix all the ingredients and proof the yeast in a 1-cup glass measure for 5 to 7 minutes
4 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour + 2 to 4 T as needed
2 tsp. salt
Place dry ingredients into a bowl of a stand mixer, using the dough hook, briefly mix these two ingredients together.
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup honey
1 large egg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very soft (but not melted)
In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, mix the milk and honey together. Stir while heating and remove after the honey has blended into the very warm milk.
Add the milk and honey to the dry ingredients and blend together about 1 minute. Add the egg and the proofed yeast and mix again.
Add the softened butter, a tablespoon at a time and "knead" with the dough hook until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl, adding a tablespoon of flour as needed, but keeping this dough soft.
Lightly flour a bread board and turn dough out onto the board. Knead a few times to get a smooth ball. Place in a large bowl that has been brushed with melted butter and then, cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise about 1 to 1 1/2 hours--until doubled.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling:
1 1/2 cups strawberries, washed, hulled, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup (preferably homemade) strawberry jam
4 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup King Arthur all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cardamon
Mix all the dry ingredients together, then cut in the butter to create the streusel.
Punch down dough and divide into eight pieces.
Roll each piece into a round ball and set in place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the smooth balls with 1 large egg + 1 T water, whisked together, then, sprinkle with some granulated sugar and place plastic over them just to rest while you preheat the oven to 375F-degrees.
My oven took about 20 minutes to preheat. This time allows the dough to rest and soften again. Press down the dough to flatten (like pizza!)
Add about 1 tablespoon of strawberry jam in the center.
Divide strawberries among the pastries, on top of the jam.
Finally, add the streusel; sprinkling it on top of the fresh berries.
Bake immediately in the preheated oven for 13 to 15 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.
Allow to cool, then mix up a vanilla-bean glaze to drizzle on top.
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 T light Karo syrup
4 to 5 T heavy cream
1 vanilla bean split and scraped (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
Mix all ingredients for a thin glaze.
Now, how would you like to have these in the morning or with afternoon tea? On a rainy day, it was like having a bit of sunshine~
...right in my kitchen. Enjoy!