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  • Writer's pictureGeorgiana

Mucenici - "Little Saints"

Mucenici is a Christian feast of the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste, a traditional holiday in Romania. It coincides with the start of the agricultural year and the spring.


On the day of the martyrs (mucenici), in the popular belief, the tombs and the gates of Heaven are opened, and the housewives make, in honor of the Holy Martyrs, these fluffy buns in the shape of the number 8, forma sweet dough, glazed with honey, syrup and splinkled with walnuts.


Recipe

*for 8 mucenici


Ingredients for dough:

  • 180ml warm milk

  • 2 medium eggs

  • 50g white sugar

  • 400g All Purpose flour

  • 60g melted butter

  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast

  • 1 pinch of salt

  • zest from 1 lemon/orange


Ingredientes for syrup:

  • 400ml water

  • 120g sugar

  • 60g honey

  • juice from 1 lemon

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


Additional:

  • 100g walnuts for topping

  • 50g honey for coating the buns after they are baked and soaked in syrup

  • 1 egg to coat the buns before baking



Steps to follow:


(1) Mix warm milk with sugar and yeast and leave aside for 10 minutes.


Note: The milk must be slightly warm, brought to a higher temperature can destroy the properties of the yeast and implicitly its power to leaven the dough.


(2) In a larger bowl or the bowl of the standing mixer, add the sifted flour, the milk, yeast and sugar mix, the melted butter, the eggs at room temperature, the lemon/orange peel and salt and start kneading. Knead until you get an elastic dough (2-3 min in the mixer at medium speed or about 5-6 minutes by hand). Even if the dough is sticky, do not add extra flour, after leavening it will be very easy to work with it. This will make our buns extra fluffy. Trust me!


(3) Cover the dough with a plastic wrap so that it does not dry out and leave to rise at room temperature for approximately 1.5-2hours or until it doubles in size.



(4) When the dough is proofed, turn it over on the floured work surface and divided into 8 pieces of approximately 100g and give them a round shape. Cover with a kitchen napkin/cloth and let it rest for 10 minutes, so the gluten relaxes and will allow us to stretch the dough easily and form the "saints".


(5) Take each ball of dough and start rolling it until you get a roll of about 35cm long. I did not use flour when I rolled the dough, but if you felt the need, sprinkle a bit of flour on the surface. Join together the ends of the roll and give it a figure eight shape. See video below.



(6) Place all the "saints" on a baking pan with baking paper and cover them with a kitchen towel. Leave them aside for another 30 minutes at room temperature. There is no problem if during this last step of proofing, the buns touch each other, on the contrary, I like this to happen, because I feel the syrup is better absorbed through these parts.


After the 30 minutes, brush the buns with egg wash and place the baking pan preheated oven to 180C for about 25 minutes, until they become fluffy and golden.



(7) While the buns are in the oven, make the syrup. Put all the ingredients in a heat-resistant pot and leave it on the fire until it boils and the sugar melts completely. Turn off the fire and leave the syrup at room temperature until the buns are ready.


(8) When the buns have baked, take them out on a metal grill and let them cool a little. It is ideal for the buns to be warm when we pour the syrup over, buy not hot, because otherwise we will get a slightly dense core.



Move the buns back to the baking pan after they have cooled, and pour the syrup over them. Brush them with honey and sprinkle ground walnuts on top. Let them cool completely and soak in all the liquid.


Happy baking!


Love,

G.








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