Luilak is a Dutch festival held on the day before Whit Sunday. Young people start to crowd the streets at four in the morning, whistling, banging on doors and ringing bells to make as much noise as they can. Any young person who fails to get up is a ‘lazybones’. As well as making lots of noise, the revellers stuff themselves with goodies, including these very tasty buns, which are a bit like our hot cross buns.
50g/1¾ oz caster sugar
50g/1¾ oz butter, cut into cubes
150ml/¼ pt milk
1 x 7g sachet of fast-action dried yeast
375g/13oz strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 lemon, zest finely grated
1 large egg, beaten
sunflower oil, for greasing
butter and syrup or honey, to serve
Put the sugar, butter and milk in a small saucepan and heat very gently for a few seconds until just warm. Take care that the milk doesn’t get too hot or the yeast won’t work.
Pour the milk mixture into a heatproof bowl and stir in the yeast. Leave for 10 minutes or until a light foam forms on the surface.
Mix the flour, salt, cinnamon and lemon zest in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
Whisk the egg into the warm milk mixture, then pour it all on to the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball.
Turn the mixture out on to a very lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes to make a smooth, pliable dough.
Knead the fruit into the dough for a couple of minutes until it is evenly distributed.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with oiled clingfilm. Leave to rise in a warm place for 1½ hours, or until it has doubled in size and is spongy to touch.
Return the dough to the work surface and knock it back with your knuckles. Knead lightly, then divide the dough into 8 portions. Roll each of these into a ball, then pull the dough from around the sides and tuck it underneath the bun to give it a neat shape.
Place the buns on a large baking tray lined with baking parchment and flatten them slightly. If your tray isn’t large enough to take all of the buns at once, bake them in a couple of batches.
Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to prove for a further 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375F/Gas 5. Remove the clingfilm and bake the buns in the centre of the oven for about 20 minutes until risen and golden brown.
Serve warm the day they’re made – great spread with butter and drizzled with syrup or honey.
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