While there is no Norwegian treat called Hamansbrød (at least that I’ve ever heard of), that’s the name I gave to a sweet bread I came up with that’s a meld of three dessert traditions: The dough is adapted from a Norwegian julebrød (Christmas bread – here’s one recipe for it), the poppy seed filling from a Jewish Hamantasch, and rolling of each arm of the braid as one would for American cinnamon rolls (which I won’t eat as I find them over-the-top sweet but my grandchildren and Thor love). The three-armed braid shape is used by many cultures for breads, both sweet and savory.
It was a hit, and I share the pictures with you below. (The story of how I came to make the Hamansbrød is below the pictures – along with my recipe and instructions for those who may want to try this.)
My friend K mentioned that she always loved the poppy seed filling of Hamantaschen but not its cookie dough. (Pic from Wikipedia) For those who may not have heard of that cookie, let The Nosher explain:
Hamantaschen are the triangular pastries associated with the holiday of Purim, when Jews read from the Book of Esther, the Megillah, and celebrate the triumph of good (Esther) over evil (Haman, who planned to destroy the Jewish people).
This Yiddish word is pronounced huh-min-tah-shun, and while technically the plural form of hamantasch, the word hamantaschen can refer to either one cookie or many.
I’ve had hamantaschen a few times, and the apricot filling was my favorite. But if K loved the poppy seed filling, I was going to figure it out and surprise her at our next Knit & Nosh. Here’s how I made my Hamansbrød.
1 large apple grated (I used a Fuji; next time I’ll try a Granny Smith)
144g poppy seeds
zest of 1 lemon
Place the filling ingredients in a saucepan and, stirring constantly, bring to boil. Lower the heat and continue to stir as the mixture thickens. (I stirred for another 15 minutes as it thickened.) Remove from heat, cool, and refrigerate over night.
6g active dry yeast
688g all purpose flour
57g butter, unsalted (and very soft)
2 eggs, beaten
100g extra fine sugar
4.5g kosher salt
In saucepan over medium heat, bring milk to boil. Remove from heat and add butter, salt and sugar and stir until incorporate. Set aside to cool.
Mix together flour and yeast.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (I used my KA), with dough hook, combine water and warm milk mixture. Stir in eggs. On first (low) speed, add flour and yeast mixture, beating until well combined. Increase to second speed and beat until the dough is smooth and elastic (5-8 minutes)..
Transfer dough out to an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
Bringing it together into a braid
Take poppy seed mixture from the refrigerator.
Line a large baking sheet (I used a large cookie sheet from USA pans) with parchment paper.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. With a bench knife, divide dough into three equal pieces. Shape each into a round, cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
One at a time, roll out each of the 3 balls into a large rectangle – I think mine were about 24″ long and 6″ wide.
Spread 1/3 of the poppy seed filling onto each rectangle, leaving about 1/2” border on all four sides. Starting with a long side, roll up each one as you would for a cinnamon roll and pinch the edges closed.
Pinch the top of the three rolls together and braid as you would for – well, for a braid! Cover, place in a warm place and let rise for about 1/2 hour.
(Before putting it in the oven, I brushed the braid with a beaten egg and then sprinkled some decorative sugar – I couldn’t find my pearl sugar – over the top.)
Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 40-50 minutes. I started checking the braid’s internal temperature at 40 minutes. It should be 190 degrees when done, but it took another 8 minutes to reach the temperature. (For the last 15 minutes or so, I put a piece of foil over the top so the braid wouldn’t brown too quickly.)
We managed to let it cool for about 15 minutes before slicing into it. The Hamansbrød was quite tasty!