There are these pastries you can buy in Estonian grocery stores called Dallase saiad (Dallas pastries, although sai also means white bread or rolls, and saiake usually indicates a small, sweet pastry). I have no idea why they’re called that or where they come from, but it’s a yeasted dough flavored lightly with cardamom filled with a sort of cream-custard filling. I guess more custard than cream, since it contains eggs and once baked it’s pretty firm. Wow, I am so not an expert when it comes to describing the anatomy of a pastry.
At some point during the spring, J picked up a few of these pastries as a snack and was raving about them. Just a few days later I bought that month’s edition of the Estonian cooking magazine Oma Maitse , and was quite excited when I saw that it contained a recipe for those very same pastries! And so we decided to see how well we could do on our own.
While I’ve done a decent amount of baking, I rarely use yeast (although I’ve used it this year for pirukad and also pizza crust, which I’ll talk about soon as well!). I seem to remember that the yeasted dough for these rose nicely but was quite sticky. We had to add some flour before we could roll it out into a rectangle, then roll it up from the long side and cut slices, which we then pressed down in the middle to make a receptacle for our creamy mixture (which included cream cheese, vanilla sugar, and a bunch of eggs). We realized we had quite a lot of the cream mixture, so J filled those dough bowls completely to the brim.
Our anticipation was great. We both hovered around the oven, waiting to see how our bakery experiment would turn out.
The result? Definitely yummy. Ours came out somewhat more poufed-up than the ones at the store, and the filling seemed to kind of meld with the dough so that it was slightly difficult to tell where the bready part ended and the filling began, except for in the very center. That was rather surprising, considering the amount of filling we poured in (on some of them the filling leaked out too). I think the bread part could have been slightly more sweet. But overall it was still greatly satisfying to make these ourselves, to know exactly what went into them and to try them when they were completely fresh. (J, if you remember anything else about the Dallase saiad , please comment, since that was a while ago and I’m sure I’m forgetting something. )