Like a lot of kitchen favorites, the crumble-bun started as a fluke. We had a surplus of cranberry preserves in November 2015, so they got rolled up in our challah dough on a Saturday morning, cut on an angle, and topped with Swedish pearl sugar. At the time, this was one of our favorite treats because it was, a) something new and different, and b) weren’t too sweet and imparted some tartness in the preserves with the slightly sweet yeast dough. We didn’t make the rolls again for a while, just because our staff was small and adding more items to our production list was pretty hard.
I used to bake alone on Wednesday mornings with one of Goldensquad members, Lesley, working up front. We thought of ourselves as two Bun Experts and so I would occasionally start experimenting with different versions of fruit buns when I knew she would be working. The Wednesday buns evolved from having the fruit rolled up directly in the rolls, to just being pieces of dough with preserves plopped in the middle, kind of like a casual kolache. It was too casual and not sweet enough. It was mostly just a pile of sweet, fluffy dough with some preserves falling off of the side (sounds appealing, right?!).
I really wanted to create something that felt more Eastern European and Scandinavian than the rest of our American-style offerings. Morning buns are such a classic and important tradition in those parts of the world, so we wanted to really cultivate that Bun Culture here in Lincoln, and within Goldenrod.
Eventually I started rolling up the dough like a cinnamon roll, but without cinnamon, carefully plopping preserves and curd in the center, and calling it a day – but it still wasn’t right.
They were missing crumble! Once that was added, it was a game-changer. I think the original Crumble-Bun still had cranberry – because I remember posting about them to Instagram, calling them “Cranberry-Crumble-Buns” and my best friend, Ashley, sent me a message and told me she wanted to start calling me a cranberry-crumble-bun! The words really flowed together and became endearing and instantly close to my heart.
The buns continue to evolve and we continue trying to perfect the rise time, the bake time, when to add the newly added glaze, and which kinds of preserves to tuck in the middle. Our Crumble-Buns are my personal favorite pastry to make every morning. The dough is fluffy, you get to press your hands into perfectly fluffy dough, snuggle in the preserves, and lovingly pile soft, fresh crumble on top of each bun. I love finding the perfect time to glaze them after they come out of the oven.
Making the preserves has become one of daily baker responsibilities. Having our baking team grow means that we are able to take on more projects, like perfecting Crumble-Buns! Our most beloved Crumble-Bun flavors so far have been: roasted apricot, lemon curd, rhubarb, peach with rosemary, mixed berry, pear, and cranberry. We have some new flavors up our sleeves, though.
We have a few secrets to the process that will remain secrets – because this recipe is so near and dear to our Goldenrod soul. The Crumble-Bun will continue to evolve, continue to be perfected, and continue to be better and better.
And I’m thrilled to tell you that one of our former Goldensquad members started to call her new baby her “little crumble-bun”.