Rhubarb Morning Buns

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Makes 10–12 | cooking time 2 hours 45 minutes

For the buns:

1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon cane sugar, divided
8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg, preferably pasture-raised
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

2 cups finely diced rhubarb
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cane sugar, divided
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
pinch of salt

For the topping:

1 egg, preferably pasture-raised
3 tablespoons water
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cane sugar


For the buns:

Stir together the warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of cane sugar. Let sit in a warm spot until bubbly, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, remaining 1/2 cup cane sugar, sour cream, and egg. Mix on medium speed just until combined, with a few lumps remaining. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Add the flours, salt, and yeast and water mixture. Mix until combined and continue to knead with the dough hook for about 5 minutes, until the dough comes together into a rough ball.

Transfer the dough to a large bowl, brush lightly with a neutral-flavored oil, cover with a tea towel, and allow to rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Meanwhile prepare the filling.

For the filling:

Combine the rhubarb, 2 tablespoons of the cane sugar, water, and cornstarch in a small pot. Stir until the rhubarb is coated. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar and cornstarch have dissolved and the rhubarb is soft and beginning to break down. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, cream together the butter, remaining 1/4 cup cane sugar, brown sugar, vanilla bean seeds, and salt.

To assemble the buns:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using your hands, shape the dough into a rough rectangle then roll it out into a 13” x 22” rectangle with the 13” sides on the top and bottom. Spread the butter and sugar mixture evenly over the top two-thirds of the dough, then spread the rhubarb jam over the butter. Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter, starting with the bottom portion. Gently press the folded dough together. Cut the dough into 1” x 13” strips. Twist each strip around 2 or 3 fingers, tucking the end in to create a bun. Place the buns 2 to 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.

For the topping, whisk together the egg and water and brush each bun with the egg wash before baking.

Bake on the middle rack for 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown.

Meanwhile, prepare the rhubarb syrup. Combine the rhubarb, water, and sugar in a small pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is soft, the sugar has dissolved, and the syrup has reduced slightly. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve, reserving the pulp for another purpose.

Remove the buns from the oven and immediately brush with the rhubarb syrup and sprinkle with cane sugar.

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