Jam-filled Yeast Pastries – Croissant Style

I’ve been on vacation since September 1st, and I still have 1½ weeks left.   Bliss!  The first ½ week was spent preparing for the party, the next week I drove my sister back home to the north of Germany and spent 5 days there with her, basically doing nothing much except relaxing and cooking together every day.  Which was really fun.  I’m normally someone who wants to do everything herself in the kitchen – meaning do it my way – but I settled for taking a back seat in my sister’s kitchen and just helping.

The fridge was full, because before travelling up we raided my fridge and took everything with us that would otherwise have gone off during my absence.  Together we cooked stuff that we used to have at home growing up, mostly things our grandmother used to make.  Which made me think about all the other dishes I grew up with and that I’d been meaning to give a try.  What better time than during this vacation!?

One of the first things that came to mind when I made a list was my mother’s recipe for what you’d probably call jam-filled yeast pastries croissant style.  I know, sounds a bit strange, doesn’t it.  They’re called Hefehörnchen in German,  Hörnchen literally means little horn. Everything that’s shaped like a croissant but isn’t actually one (dough-wise) is called Hörnchen in German.  And I just realised it’s kind of difficult to translate.  Anyway, my mother used to make these of a Saturday afternoon while we were playing outside, and I can still smell – or hallucinate about the smell… – of them fresh out of the oven.

Jam-filled Yeast Pastries

500 g flour
300 margarine for baking (or shortening)
1 tbsp sugar
3 eggs
42 g fresh yeast
125 ml milk
pinch of salt
jam of your choice
egg or milk for brushing

Heat milk to lukewarm, add sugar, crumble in yeast, and let sit until little bubbles start to form on the surface.

Combine flour, margarine or shortening, eggs and a pinch of salt.  Then stir in the milk-yeast-mixture, and beat into a firm(ish) dough until it won’t stick to your mixing bowl (much).  Let rise in warm surroundings for about 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.

Knead dough with your hands for about a minute, then cut off pieces, and roll each one out into squares.  Add a teaspoonful of jam to the middle of each square, then roll up from a corner into a croissant shape.  Brush with either beaten egg or milk, whichever you prefer.  I tried both, and the milk-brushed ones weren’t exactly pretty because they just looked dryMind you, not that the egg-brushed ones looked that much more attractive…

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes in a 200°C / 400°F oven (or 180°C / 350°F in a fan oven).  I baked in a fan oven, and they were done in 20 minutes.

To me the amount of squares you get out of one recipe of dough is like maths – totally incomprehensible and unpredictable.  I managed to get 27 pieces out of this one, every single one a different size, though.  Also, I realised while making these that I like baking with yeast and eating yeast products, but I really don’t like handling yeast dough.  I find it difficult to shape, it annoys me when it doesn’t do what I want it to, and the result can hardly ever be called pretty…

But even if they won’t win me any prizes looks-wise, they taste really good.  If I were to make them again, I’d add a bit more sugar, though, as the jam I had filled them with wasn’t very sweet.

These pastries are still delicious the next day, but I find them best still slightly warm on the day they’re baked.