I know this is almost sacrilegious to say, but I've never had the school bread in Epcot's Norway Pavilion. I know it's got a loyal, nearly fanatical fan base and I know saying I've never tried it is like saying I've never had the turkey leg or a Dole Whip... But for some reason, I've never made space in my stomach to give it a shot.
The recipe is all over the place online and I've been saying for months that I'd try it, but like when it's at Epcot, I never got around to adding it to my "bake" list until now. Doing a yeast bread that involves icing and custard, no matter how delicious it sounded, it seemed like it was a major investment in time... And it was. It's not a hard recipe, just one with a lot of
steps that takes longer than your average baked good.
I did follow the recipe exactly, but as anybody who's read this blog knows, making custard seems to never work out for me (as we can see here and here) and I was yet again defeated with this recipe. While I got so, so, so close, I cooled it off too early, it was ever-so-slightly too runny still so I added whipped topping to thicken it off. Brilliant solution that tasted fabulous, but I'm sure it made it taste less like it does in the parks. Next time, I'll get pre-made custard or I'll just make pudding... Which I mess up only about 50% of the time as opposed to 100% of the time. Also, I ended up way more flour than the original recipe called for. I'm not sure if it's because I might have used an extra half a cup of water, or if it just really needed the extra flour... As written, the dough was so sticky and watery it was completely impossible to
handle. And this makes a lot of school bread. I ended up with 14 pastries.
I tasted this as it went along and it was really neat to see how each of the components came together to change it from being a regular yeast bread that was maybe even a little savory, like a dinner roll, but ended up being the right level of sweet and hearty. I actually thought this would be like a doughnut when I decided to do this recipe. It's more like Norway's answer to a sweet breads like cinnamon rolls, without the super sweet overload. I really liked it and will go out of my way to have it next time at Epcot.
°o° 2 pints water
°o° 2 1/2 ounces melted butter
°o° 3 ounces instant or dry yeast
°o° 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
°o° 1 2/3 cups milk
Add warm water to melted butter (about 90-95 degrees) and add yeast and let stand 2-3 minutes or until mixture starts to froth. Add flour, sugar, cardamom, and egg. Mix 5-10 minutes until dough stiffens, adding more flour as needed. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise 1 hour, or until dough doubles in size.
Bake in an oven preheated to 375 for 15 minutes. Breads are done when they have a slight crust and the bottoms have browned slightly. Let cool on a wire rack. When cooled, hollow out an area for the filling in the middle of the bread, making sure to not go all the way through the bread.
Combine all ingredients except the coconut to form a thick glaze. Working quickly with one bread at a time, dip bread hole-side down in the sugar glaze and coat with toasted coconut. Return breads to wire rack to dry.
In a saucepan, bring milk to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside, skimming away the
In a bowl, beat sugar, extract, and egg yolks until mixture has doubled. Do not over mix. Put mixer to low and slowly add several spoonfuls of warm milk to temper the custard mixture. Then slowly stream milk into mixture and mix until just incorporated. Transfer to a metal bowl or top portion of a double boiler. Over a double boiler, slowly add the dissolved cornstarch to the custard mixture and stir gently and constantly until mixture thickens. Do not allow to boil. When warmed and thickened, move bowl to an ice bath to cool completely.
Once totally cooled, using a piping bag, pipe custard into pastry and finish with a decorative dollop or swirl.