Saturday, December 09, 2023

Black Tahini and Poppy Seed Swirls


When I was last browsing in my local secondhand bookstore, I came across a cookbook titled The Magic of Tahini by Dunja Gulin. I flipped through it and took pictures of two recipes to try them. (I have since purchased the book, but have not explored it enough to officially recommend it yet!) This is the first recipe that I’m trying.

I couldn’t find black tahini in stores, so I ordered a jar online. I’ll post more recipes soon to use up the rest of the jar – it’s delicious! I also love how black it is, without using any food coloring. I made a few changes below; for example, my light icing calls for powdered sugar so that it is almost white, and I reduced the amount by half. (I had tried it the way the recipe calls for at first, with a larger amount of unrefined brown sugar, but did not like the results.) Also, since ground poppy seeds are hard to find here, and poppy seeds are expensive as it is, I lightly ground ½ cup of poppy seeds in a spice grinder, so it wasn’t quite a paste, then reduced the rest of the filling ingredients by half. And I used lactose-free milk instead of soy milk.

These buns were a hit. Not too sweet, and with flavors (like poppy and sesame) that are not in your typical bun. I highly recommend these!

For the dough 
1 cup soy milk 
3 Tbsp. coconut oil 
2 ¼ tsp. active dry yeast 
1 Tbsp. coconut sugar (I used brown sugar) 
½ tsp. salt 
3 cups (290 g) unbleached all-purpose flour 

For the dark icing 
¾ cup (140 g) coconut sugar (I used brown sugar) 
2 Tbsp. arrowroot powder 
2 Tbsp. black tahini coconut or soy milk, if needed 

For the light icing (my version) 
½ cup (80 g) powdered sugar, sifted 
1 Tbsp. white tahini coconut or soy milk, if needed 

For the filling (I only used half as much) 
2/3 cup (90 g) coconut sugar (I used brown sugar) 
1 tsp. ground Ceylon cinnamon 
1 cup (100 g) ground poppy seeds 
2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted 
2 Tbsp. black tahini

Heat the soy milk and coconut oil in a nonstick pan over a low heat until the oil is dissolved. Leave to cool slightly, then add the yeast, coconut sugar, and salt and whisk well. Transfer to a large bowl and, using a wooden spoon, mix the flour. Place on a clean, lightly floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes. (I did this in the stand mixer with the dough hook.)

Oil a large bowl and the dough. Put the dough in the bowl, cover with a damp tea towel, and leave to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Grease a 9”x13” baking pan; line the bottom with parchment paper, and grease it again (I used a nonstick spray). Set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare the icings. In two separate bowls, whisk together the ingredients for the dark icing and the light icing until thick. Set aside.

When the dough is ready, place it between two sheets of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to roll it into a rectangular shape about 5mm thick. (I just rolled it out on the floured countertop.)

To make the filling, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and ground poppy seeds in a bowl. Brush the surface of the dough with the melted coconut oil, spread with the tahini and sprinkle the poppy seed mixture evenly over the top.

Gently roll the dough away from you into a log, starting from the longer side of the rectangle. Using a serrated knife, cut the log across into 12 equal rolls. Carefully put the rolls into the prepared baking pan, leaving space between each one. Leave to rise for a further 10-20 minutes, then bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with the icings while still hot. Serve.

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