Do you have a particular food that you hoard in massive quantities because you’re afraid you might run out one day and not be able to get more right away?
I’m like that with rhubarb. Every summer, I cram as many large bags full of chopped rhubarb as I can fit into my freezer to tide me through until the next spring, just like a squirrel stashes away nuts to last through the winter. (If squirrels had little squirrel-sized semi-detached houses with chest freezers in the basement, that is… which they don’t, though probably not for lack of trying.)
And every year, I can’t bring myself to dig into my stockpile until it’s almost rhubarb season again, because I’m so afraid of running out before I can get more.
What can I say? Some people collect little porcelain figurines… and I collect mass quantities of chopped rhubarb. I can stop anytime I want, though. Honest.
There are some things that are delicious enough to convince me to dig into the stash a little early, though… One of those things is my newly-discovered obsession, the home-fermented rhubarb soda from Batch. The other is these delicious pillowy soft sweet buns that gently cradle a juicy strawberry and rhubarb filling, perfect for springtime brunches or afternoon teas or just for the heck of it when you need a tasty treat.
I’ve borrowed my inspiration for these buns from a traditional Czech treat known as kolaches, which is also apparently quite popular in Texas and the Midwest.
While the dough and streusel have stayed true to my original inspiration, the filling of fresh strawberries and rhubarb is completely different from the sweet cheese and cooked fruit fillings that are typically used… though I’d like to think it’s just as delicious (if not better… but that might get me banned from most of Texas.)
If you don’t happen to have a rhubarb stash of your own, feel free to substitute with a blueberries or cherries or whatever tender seasonal fruit you happen to have kicking around, though obviously for me right now it’s about to become the strawberry-and-rhubarb show in my kitchen for the next few weeks until I get my fill.
The end result is not quite a sweet bun and not quite a donut, but an entirely delicious hybrid of the two that I absolutely don’t mind making again and again, even if it does put a dent in my precious stockpiled rhubarb.
Just make sure to let them cool off to room temperature before digging in, no matter how golden and tempting they might be, lest you burn your tongue on bubbling hot strawberry-rhubarb juice. Not that I’d know from experience or anything. Nope. Not at all.
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup butter
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2¼ tsp instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 cups flour, divided
- ½ cup sliced fresh strawberries
- ½ cup thinly sliced fresh rhubarb
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 3 tbsp flour
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp water
- In a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine milk and butter. Heat until the butter is mostly melted, then remove from heat and continue stirring until the butter is completely melted. Let cool for 5 minutes, or until lukewarm.
- Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer that's been fitted with a dough hook. Add the eggs, one at a time, then sprinkle in the sugar, yeast and salt. Turn the mixer on at low speed, then add flour and knead for 2-3 minutes or until the dough starts to come together. Increase the speed to medium, and continue kneading for about 10 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth and completely pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Transfer the dough to a large lightly-oiled mixing bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free spot to rise until doubled, about 1 hour. (Alternatively, you can leave the dough to rise in the refrigerator overnight if preparing the night before.)
- Punch down the dough, then divide into 16 equal size portions and shape into balls. Arrange on two large parchment-lined baking sheets, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled again, about 1 to 1½ hours.
- As soon as you've put away the buns to rise, prepare the filling. In a small mixing bowl, combine the strawberries, rhubarb, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cover and set aside to macerate while the buns finish rising.
- Next, prepare the streusel by stirring together the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Using your fingers, rub in the butter until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Using the bottom of a glass or measuring cup with a 2" base, press down into the top of each ball to make a deep indent. Brush the buns all over with egg wash.
- Using a small spoon, scoop about 2 tbsp of filling into each of the buns, trying to leave most of the liquid behind in the bowl, then sprinkle generously with streusel.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until pale golden brown. (Do not bake any longer... you want these to be slightly underbaked.) Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool off for at least 20 minutes. Serve immediately - these are best eaten the day they're made, if at all possible, though they will keep for another day or two in a tightly covered container.
I’m teaming up with the Canadian Food Creatives crew to share all sorts of berry-licious treats, just in time for strawberry season! Make sure to check out all of their posts for this month’s roundup:
- Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries by Food Mamma
- Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Covered Strawberries by 365 Days of Easy Recipes
- Strawberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Pancakes by She Bakes Here
- Rituals + Strawberry, Rhubarb, Ginger Shrub by Eating Niagara
- Roasted Beet & Strawberry Salad by A Pretty Life
- Simple Macerated Strawberries by She Loves Biscotti
- Strawberry Cheesecake Popsicles by Homemade & Yummy
- Strawberry Ice Cream with Drunken Rhubarb by Sugarlovespices
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble with Toasted Almonds by Crumb Kitchen
- Strawberry Rolls with Basil Cream by The Cinnamon Scrolls
- Strawberry Shortcake with Lavender Lemon Cream by My Kitchen Love
- Strawberry Streusel Shortbread Bars by The Bluenose Baker
- Strawberry Vanilla Cream Tart by Tiny Sweet Tooth
- Yogurt Cake with Roasted Strawberries and Rhubarb by Making Healthy Choices