Sweet Cherry Filled Buns (Vatrushki Recipe)
Yeast Buns Ingredients:
- 1 cup warm milk, about 100˚F, not hot!
- 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast
- 4 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
- 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour, divided, plus more for dusting
- 1 egg, room temp (take it out of the fridge at the start of the recipe)
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg, beaten with fork (for egg wash)
For the Simple Cherry Filling:
- 1 lb sweet red cherries, pitted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp for each bun
How to Make Cherry Vatrushki: Preheat the oven to 360˚F at step 8.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, add 1 cup warm milk and sprinkle the top with 1/2 Tbsp yeast and let sit 5-7 minutes for the yeast to activate.
Stir in 1/2 cup flour and 2 Tbsp sugar and whisk until blended, then let rise in a warm 100˚F oven for 20 minutes (or at room temp 30-45 mins).
Whisk in 1 egg, remaining 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp melted butter and 1/2 tsp salt. Now using the dough hook, add remaining 2 3/4 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, allowing it to fully incorporate between each addition. Add the last bit of flour slowly. You know the dough is perfect when it is no longer sticking to the walls of the mixer. Do not add more flour past this point. Note: not all flour is created equal so add flour until it's not sticking to the mixing bowl. Continue mixing your dough with the dough hook on low speed 15 minutes.
Cover your mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm 100˚F oven for 1 hour (or at room temp 2 hours) . Be patient and your dough should triple in volume.
Transfer the dough to a good non-stick surface and cut it in half. Working with one piece at a time, cut each piece in half, then in half again. Repeat with the rest of the dough to make a total of 16 pieces from the entire dough. Shape the dough into balls.
Butter a baking dish (either 2 round cake pans, or one (9x13) rimmed baking pan). Place balls of dough ,evenly spaced in your baking dish(es). Push a narrow drinking glass or a small ramekin over the center of each dough round to make a well in the center.
Place 4 cherries into each well and sprinkle each bun with 1/2 tsp sugar. Let rise in a warm 100˚ oven for 20 minutes until they look puffy (30-45 minutes at room temp).
Make the Crumb Mixture: Combine crumb mixture ingredients in a medium bowl and use a pastry cutter or rub together with your fingers until small crumbs form.
Brush the buns with egg wash and sprinkle the tops generously with the crumb mixture. Bake at 360˚F for 20-22 min or until tops are golden brown.
Tips for working with yeast doughs: a good rule of thumb is never to let the dough or yeast get too hot during the rising process or you will kill the yeast. I try not to let the mixture get warmer than 100˚. This means your milk can't be too hot and your proofing oven temperature can't be above 100˚F or you will ruin the dough. I've done it and I'd love to save you the same heartache. P.S. If it's warm outside, you can let your dough rise outdoors in the shade.