Strawberry-Pistachio Sweet Buns

Packing a filling with freeze-dried strawberries and chopped pistachios, these sweet buns pack a lot of fruity flavor. A tangy cream cheese drizzle offers an orthodox finish to very unorthodox buns.

Strawberry-Pistachio Sweet Buns
 

Makes 12 buns
Ingredients
  • 4¼ to 4½ cups (531 to 563 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) plus ⅓ cup (67 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 (0.25-ounce) package (7 grams) active dry yeast
  • 2¼ teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt, divided
  • 1¼ cups (300 grams) whole milk
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened and divided
  • 1 large egg (50 grams)
  • 1 cup (16 grams) freeze-dried strawberries, coarsely crushed (see Note)
  • 1⅓ cups (21 grams) freeze-dried strawberries, finely ground (see Note)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup (28 grams) finely chopped roasted salted pistachios
  • Cream Cheese Glaze (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: crushed freeze-dried strawberries

Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1½ cups (188 grams) flour, ⅓ cup (67 grams) sugar, yeast, and 2 teaspoons (6 grams) salt.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat milk and ½ cup (113.5 grams) butter over medium heat until an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Add warm milk mixture to flour mixture, and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg, and beat at medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 2¾ cups (344 grams) flour, beating just until combined and stopping to scrape sides of bowl as needed.
  3. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at medium speed until a soft, somewhat sticky dough forms, about 5 minutes, stopping to scrape dough hook and sides of bowl as needed. Add crushed strawberries, and beat until dough is smooth and elastic, 1 to 3 minutes, adding up to remaining ¼ cup (31 grams) flour, adding 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary. (Dough should pass the windowpane test [see PRO TIP] but may still stick slightly to sides of bowl.)
  4. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 40 minutes to 1 hour. (See Make Ahead tip on page 77 for make-ahead method.)
  5. Spray 13×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  6. In a small bowl, stir together ground strawberries, pepper, remaining ¾ cup (150 grams) sugar, remaining ½ cup (113.5 grams) butter, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt until well combined.
  7. Lightly punch down dough. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into an 18×12-inch rectangle. Using a small offset spatula, spread strawberry mixture onto dough, leaving a ½-inch border on one long side. Sprinkle with pistachios. Starting with opposite long side, roll up dough, jelly roll style; pinch seam to seal. Gently shape log to 18 inches long and even thickness, if necessary. Using a serrated knife dipped in flour, cut log into 12 slices (about 1½ inches thick). Place slices, cut side down, in prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  9. Bake until lightly golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), 25 to 30 minutes, loosely covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan. Drizzle with Cream Cheese Glaze. Garnish with freeze-dried strawberries, if desired. Serve warm. Cover, and store in refrigerator.

Notes
To crush whole freeze-dried strawberries, place in a large resealable plastic bag, and pound with a rolling pin. To grind whole freeze-dried strawberries, pulse in the work bowl of a food processor until ground to desired consistency.

PRO TIP: Test the dough for proper gluten development by using the windowpane test. Pinch off (don’t tear) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a windowpane. If the dough tears, it’s not quite ready. Beat 1 minute more, and test again.

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Cream Cheese Glaze
 

Ingredients
  • 3 ounces (86 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • ⅔ cup (80 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients until smooth. Spoon glaze into a small pastry bag; cut a ¼-inch hole in tip. Use immediately.

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