The first glimpse of spring always leaves me eager and ready for summer. I think seeing the first batch of fruits start to come back 'round again gets my berry-clock ticking, because that's all I've been wanting to make, lately. Berries. berries. berries. So, I decided to channel my seasonal dependency into something more productive than just staring at a bunch of berries and sighing. I've always had a penchant for blackberries and creamy goat cheese, as is evidenced by this cheesecake, and my love for sticky buns has been a part of who I am for as long as I've walked this earth, so I decided to unite the two in a decadent, delicious, and swirly little pastry.
I made a simple yeasted dough and rolled it out into a rectangle, then cut it into strips. I plopped a heaping spoonful of Vermont Creamery's creamy goat cheese mixed with a dab of honey at one end and spread a trail of crushed blackberries, cinnamon, and sugar down the rest of the strip. They got rolled up, one by one, with the goat cheese in the center and placed in a muffin pan where they proofed for a bit to puff up. Into the oven they went, and while they were baking I prepared a delicious blackberry & cinnamon syrup. After they were finished, I moved them all to a large casserole pan and poured the syrup over them, letting them sit in it to soak it up for about 2 hours until they were nice and sticky. Once they were done soaking, I peeled one from the pan, took my first bite, and went straight to berry-bun heaven. Seriously guys, these are SO. DAMN. GOOD. The cheese in the middle gets all melty and the blackberry and cinnamon flavors just sort of seep into every crevasse of the dough. And the syrup. The syrup just makes it that. much. sweeter.
Aaaaaand speaking of sweet, I have a really amazing giveaway to share with you today, coordinated by the lovely Katie Webster of Healthy Seasonal Recipes! She brought together Vermont Creamery, JK Adams, Effie's Homemade, and Calivirgin Olive Oil to create a joint Spring Entertaining Giveaway. The prizes include the following:
- From Vermont Creamery: A taste of Vermont Creamery Gift Package and In a Cheesemakers Kitchen Cookbook.
- From JK Adams: A set of Coupe Appetizer Plates (2 pieces)
- From Calivirgin: 1 8.45 ounce bottle of roasted garlic olive oil, 1 8.45 ounce bottle of the rosemary infused olive oil and 1 8.45 ounce bottle balsamic vinegar.
- From Effie's Homemade: 10 packages of crakers (2 oat, 2 corn, 2 nut, 2 cocoa, 2 rye)
To enter, please use the rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway ends on April 16th at 9:00 am PST. Good luck and happy spring, everyone!!
1 cup warm water
3 and ½ cups flour
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons of butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk, room temperature
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 and ¼ teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Blackberry & Goat Cheese Filling
2 ounces ripe blackberries, crushed
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup creamy goat cheese
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 teasp vanilla extract
4 ripe blackberries, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon orange juice
Begin by making the buns. Mix together all of the ingredients and knead until a smooth dough forms. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover it. Allow it to rest at room temperature away from direct sunlight for 1 hour.
While the dough is rising, you can quickly prepare the filling. In a small pot, bring the blackberries, sugar, butter and cinnamon to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. In a small bowl, mix together the goat cheese and honey until smooth, then set aside.
Lightly grease a muffin pan and set it aside. After the dough rests, roll it out into a roughly 18x18 inch square. Then lay a ruler along one side of it and make small cuts at every 1.5 inches down the side of the square. Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into 12 strips along those 1.5 inch cuts. Place a tablespoon of the honey goat cheese filling at one end of the strip, then take 1 tablespoon of the blackberry mixture and spread it down the remainder of the strip, leaving a 1-inch strip at the end of the piece of dough empty to allow for sealing.
Gently roll the strip up, starting with the goat cheese end, and roll at a very slight angle so that the center is the highest point of the bun. (Do not roll at a sharp angle, otherwise when you proof and bake the buns the tops will be too tall and they will fall over to the side instead of remaining nice and pointed upright). When you reach the end of the strip, press the empty part against the side gently to stick it in place.
Place the bun pointed-side up in the muffin pan and repeat until all of the buns are in the pan. Lightly cover the pan with a greased sheet of plastic wrap and allow to proof for another 45-60 minutes, or until the buns have filled up the rounds they're sitting in in the muffin pan and look a little puffy. Towards the end of the proofing, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the buns in the oven for 22-30 minutes, or until they turn golden.
While they're baking, you can prepare the syrup. Bring all the ingredients to a boil except the orange juice. Lower to a simmer and allow to cook for 10 minutes, then remove the pot from heat, stir in the orange juice, and set aside. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing the buns from the pan and placing them in a casserole pan. Pour the blackberry syrup over the buns and allow them to sit soaking in the syrup for 2 hours. Remove them from the casserole pan and serve.