Toronto-style Blueberry Buns

bunnsdone 2010-08-13 002Apparently, this is a Toronto thing – or at least, an “east-coast” thing (it Toronto on the east coast?). 

From searching the Internet and looking at other blogs, it seems this is something special that we do here – nestle blueberries and sugar in a yeast bun – and a delicious thing it is indeed.  If we can’t be famous for our bagels (yuck), at the very least, we have excellent taste in blueberry yeast desserts.

I have always wanted to recreate my Bubby’s, but my mother’s are excellent as well… really, any are, as long as the blueberries aren’t grossly undercooked, as a few have been that I bought at Hermes, a local bakery. 

Frankly, I use canned pie filling, but if you have a source for nice, fresh local berries, use those instead.  This would probably work with many kinds of berry, but I’m closed-minded and believe blueberry is the best and only kind.

I used to think it would work with any challah recipe, but that’s not true.  You need the richest, almost brioche like dough, or else it just tastes like your bread and fruit have collided in a most unfortunate mishap.

For this, I used my Auntie Sally’s challah recipe, even though she swore it would not work for blueberry buns.  I think she just doesn’t like blueberry buns.

Portion 900g of dough into ten 90g balls.  I’m proud of these because I rolled them one-handed.  Not just rolled, but tucked and tightened.

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Preliminary rolling and flattening, then rest.

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Roll nice and thin.  This rich, silky dough was excellent to work with, and I had just the right balance between traction on the table and release so the circles wouldn’t stick.

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Add 3 tsp or so of blueberry pie filling to half of circle.

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Fold over and press shut tightly with thumb or fingers.

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Roll the half-moon onto its long side, roll over the seam and press it flat… though it never stays for me.

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Pinch the ridge shut if it needs it, and pinch the ends tightly closed.  Ideally, the buns will stay closed during baking, to keep all that yummy filling inside.  Mine never do.

Here’s the distinctive “ridge,” characteristic of the “Toronto blueberry bun.”

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A pan of them, ready to go in.  Brush with egg yolk and sprinkle with sugar, as coarse as possible.  Big grains look lovely against the baked surface.  I don’t have coarse crystal sugar, so I used coconut sugar.

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Bake about 20 minutes at 375°.  Cool on a rack.

Drat – the first batch opened up, though the filling stayed put and didn’t drool everywhere, like it sometimes does.

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I suspect they are popping open from oven spring.  Probably if I let them rise a bit longer before baking (ie longer than ZERO), they’d remain sealed better during baking.

Indeed, the second batch, which had a slightly longer rise, stayed mostly closed (see first photo at the top of this post).

Patience; I suppose with blueberry buns as with so much else, patience is the key.  Though naturally, I didn’t wait to taste one – mmm, delicious!


  1. Great Blog. Funny that we are both making blueberry buns. Can't wait to read more!

    Shabbat Shalom,


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