Ruby Tandoh makes raspberry mascarpone vatrushkas
As soon as I read this recipe I wanted to bake it – and eat it! We had plums (they are in season) so I used them. Also, I used the leftover egg-white to glaze (unorthodox, but leftovers irritate me) and I cheated, by making the dough in the bread-machine for the dough – it sounded too sticky…
125g strong white flour
125g plain flour
1½ tsp instant dried yeast
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
120ml full-fat milk
For the filling
1 large egg yolk
40g caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten, to glaze
Combine the flours and yeast, then add the salt and sugar. In a separate bowl, beat the mascarpone for the dough until smooth. Heat the milk in a pan over a low heat until lukewarm, then whisk it, a little at a time, into the cheese. Once combined, add to the flour bowl and mix with your hands.
Knead the dough for 10 minutes, until smoother and more elastic. Don’t add extra flour to the dough or work surface – just have a spatula to hand, to scrape up any dough that sticks to your hands or the work surface, and knead with speed and conviction. Thanks to the proportion of lower-gluten plain flour in it, this dough might not feel quite as robust as some others, but it will grow supple nonetheless. Transfer the dough to a large bowl, cover and leave to rise at room temperature for one and a half to two hours, or until doubled in size.
Divide the risen dough into six pieces and roll each into a ball. One by one, use a rolling pin to flatten the balls to 1cm-thick discs, then use your hands to stretch them until they’re around 12cm in diameter. You’ll need to stretch the centres quite a bit thinner than the edges, in order to leave a rim of dough around the perimeter.
Leave the dough shapes to prove on a large, lined baking tray (or two trays if yours aren’t very big) for around 45 minutes, or until visibly puffy and risen. While they prove, heat the oven to 180C (fan 160C)/gas mark 4 and prepare the filling. Beat the mascarpone until smooth, then stir in the egg yolk, sugar, cornflour and vanilla.
Once the buns have risen, neaten them by very gently pressing down around the centre to define the indentation and ensure that the rim is well above the level of the hollow. Fill with a spoonful of the mascarpone mixture and press a few raspberries into the centre of each one.
Brush the buns all over with the egg, to glaze. This will be easy on the dough rims, but you’ll have to be very gentle when brushing over the surface of the filling and raspberries. Bake for 20 minutes, then leave on the tray to cool to room temperature before eating. The centres will remain soft-set even when completely cooled, but this rich, quivering custard is precisely what makes these buns special.