Poor little raisins, so often forgotten and considered much less interesting or fancier than other red or blue dried fruits. And yet, at home, we often had an after dinner ritual, instead of eating overly sweet desserts (which was rare in our home after dinner), and that was eating freshly peeled or sliced fruits or the other option, which was to munch on walnuts, cracked between my dad’s strong hands and always served to us as little tasty mounds, always mixed with raisins. These «stafidopsoma» breads, even though walnut-less, remind me of those peaceful family moments of sharing.
These little buns are similar to other raisin-laden breads, but not too sweet so they’re perfect for mornings. I guess they are most similar to a simplified version of the Anglo-Saxon countries’ “hot cross buns”.
My recipe is easy to remember, using equal volumes (¼ cup each) of milk, egg, thick greek yogurt, honey and butter and 3 times as much (¾ cup) cognac and spice-soaked raisins and of course the flour, to which I add some barley malt powder to make it tastier and to rise better. The butter is used for all the kneading and not added initially, but in steps and it’s easier.
There are 2 ways to make them. You can either add the raisins to the large ball of dough after kneading and rising and then separate the dough into 12 smaller balls that will rise again or you can do it my way, by separating the kneaded and risen dough into one dozen balls and then adding the raisins to each, so they are evenly distributed.
The raisins are soaked in a mixture of cognac, extracts, zests and ground spices, which adds just enough flavor so that each bite is slightly different from the next.
And when it comes to baking the buns with a lid, it allows them to expand more without cracking and only after the initial baking time, do you quickly brush them with the glaze and sprinkle them with the rock sugar and bake them for another 5 minutes, without a lid, for a golden and crunchy exterior.
They remind me of summer, but the ingredients are obviously available all year round so it’s they’re a non-seasonal baked good, great all year round and a healthy alternative to other sugar and/or fat-laden breakfast preparations, and yet, summer is when I think about them the most. I should probably add some walnuts to them too sometimes, to extend the related memory.
So, how’s your summer so far ?! … :)