Maritozzi – Italian Cream Buns

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Rising time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours
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Maritozzi – Italian Cream Buns

I have been seeing these bad boys around for a while and have been excited to make them. I suppose they are a healthier version of a donut because they are baked, not fried. The filling is light yet luxurious and the rich brioche is to die for!

My dad, David has always been a huge fan of donuts for as long as I could remember. I am really excited to make these for him during the holiday season.

Why this recipe is amazing

Flavour & texture: Rich, fluffy baked brioche buns filled with a light yet luxurious vanilla whipped mascarpone cream.

Difficulty: 3/5. The brioche buns are a little tricky to make and shape. It recommended to use a stand mixer to set you up for success.

Time: 3-12 hours. These buns are a little involved slow proofing and refrigeration but don’t let that put you off! The dough can be refrigerated a day ahead of time or make the buns and freeze until needed then make fresh cream.

Versatility: The cream can be swirled with your favourite jam, nut spread before being filled in the buns.

What ingredients are needed

Milk: A temperature of around 41-46°C/110-115°F is ideal but cooler water is okay just ensure that it is not above the aforementioned temperature as it risks killing the yeast.

Instant yeast: Instant yeast is stronger, faster and more stable than dry yeast but you can substitute with what you have. You can also use around 50-100gm sourdough starter (reduce the water slightly) but I will be realising a specific sourdough focaccia soon.

Plain flour: Plain flour is recommended over Bread flour, even though e are making bread, due to its lower protein (less gluten) levels which leads to a softer, lighter texture.

White sugar: While the sugar adds minimal sweetness, it provides energy for the yeast to multiple and grow.

Salt: A huge part of bread baking but all cooking needs SALT! While enhancing the flavour of all ingredients in the recipe and giving the focaccia the ‘bready’ flavour we all love, it helps to tighten the gluten structure. That strengthening allows the dough to trap and hold more carbon dioxide more efficiently.

Large eggs: Large eggs are always recommended when baking so that they give consistent results every time and you avoid having an ‘eggy’ taste.

Lightly salted butter: Yes, I’m a salted butter fan. I opt for a grass-fed, higher fat content butter that is lightly salted to enhance the flavours of the butter itself. You may use unsalted butter but you must then add 1/4 tsp salt.

How to make Maritozzi – Italian Cream Buns

  • Proof the yeast: In a small bowl, add milk and heat in the microwave for 5 seconds, or until it’s lukewarm but not hot. This can also be done in a small saucepan over low heat but be very aware of overheating. Whisk in the yeast and sugar to dissolve. Set aside until the mixture is foamy, about 3-5 minutes. This is to ensure that you yeast is alive and strong.
  • Mix the dough: Into the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour and salt, the yeast mixture and eggs. Using the dough hook, mix on low until it forms a scraggy dough. Cover and allow to sit for 10 minutes. This is a form of autolyse process that gives time for the flour to hydrate and gluten bonds to begin form.
  • Knead the dough: Remove cover and continue to kneading on low, scraping the dough from the sides and hook occasionally. Keep kneading until looks soft, slightly shiny and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. This should take about 8 minutes on low speed. Only add an additional tablespoon or two of flour if the dough continues to stick to the sides after this time. Trust the process.
  • Add the butter: Once you dough has reaches the smooth, soft consistency, begin adding the butter, small amounts at a time. Continue kneading as each addition is fully incorporate into the dough before adding the next. The dough will start looking extra shiny, soft and due to the butter and egg, it will take on a yellowish appearance.
  • Rise and chill dough: When all the butter is added and the dough looks beautifully shiny, soft and supple, transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Shape it into a ball. Lightly grease or oil your large bowl and place in the dough. Cover it with a dish towel or cling film and allow to rise at room temperature for or 1-1/2 hours or until it has nearly doubled in size. Note that the rising time is slow due to the amount of fat content in the dough. You can take a photo of the initial dough or make a marking on the side of the bowl to give you an indictor to compare the final dough against.
  • Refrigerate the dough: Once to dough has risen, gently deflate and form again into a ball on your lightly floured work surface. Return to bowl again and cover. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and chill for 2 to 24 hours. Refrigeration firms up the butter, creating a more manageable dough but also improves the taste of the final dough.
  • Preheat the oven: 180°C/350°F degrees. Line 2 baking trays and set aside.
  • Portion and shape buns: Divide the dough into 8-10 pieces. Take each piece of dough and lightly flatten, pull edges inwards to the centre . Flip over and roll along the bench-top to create a tighter surface tension.Place the rolled bun onto tray and repeat with the rest of the dough. Allow space between each bun. Cover with a greased piece of plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, about an hour.
  • Bake the buns: Baste with egg wash and Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and place on heatproof surface to cool completely.
  • Prepare the cream: In a large bowl whip cream, mascarpone, vanilla extract and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag. and set aside in fridge.
  • Bring it all together: Slice each bun across the top on a 45degree angle, without cutting through the bottom. Fill each bun with the cream and smooth it out with a spatula. Dust the buns with extra powdered sugar and serve.

Setting you up for success – Tips, Tricks & FAQs

  • Weigh or measure flour properly – Scooping flour out of the container can actually compress the flour and you’ll possibly end up with ~50% extra! Compressed flour = Over-measuring = dry, dense and cakey baked products. Weighing is ALWAYS recommended. Grab kitchen scales and you’ll get much more consistent results. If you don’t have scales, you have two options. 1. spoon flour into the measuring cup or 2. use the cup to stir and ‘fluff up’ the flour before scooping and measuring, so that it isn’t packed.
  • Play around with flavours: Swirl some jam, fruit puree or nut butter into the mascarpone cream before filling. Nutella or berry buns any one!!?!
  • How long can the Maritozzi buns last? Keep unfilled buns in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. Keep the filled buns in the fridge for 1-2 days. Be aware they wont be as good as fresh, they started to dry out.
  • Do I have to use butter? You can add oil in place of the butter. Canola oil or rice bran oil are great because they are neutral flavoured (no flavour) but you wont get the rich buttery flavour that brioche is known for.
  • How long should Maritozzi buns sit before eating? Eat them fresh or within a few hours of making for best flavour and texture. You can want to refrigerate to cool the cream but within 1-2 days they will start to dry out.
  • Can you freeze the Maritozzi Buns?: Yes, only the unfilled buns should be frozen! You have two options. 1. After step 8, you can freeze unbaked or 2. semi bake until just lightly brown, cool then you can freeze for up to 6 months. To defrost, simply place onto a lined tray, allow to sit at room temp for 10 minutes before baking at 180°c/ 350°f as per step 9.

Did you make this recipe?

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Maritozzi – Italian Cream Buns

Soft brioche buns filled with a luxurious vanilla whipped mascarpone cream.
Servings 8 buns
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Rising time 3 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs

Equipment

  • stand Mixer
  • 2 baking trays lined with baking paper
  • small bowl
  • large bowl

Ingredients
 

  • 2 tbsp milk warmed slightly
  • 6 g (0.5 tsp) instant yeast
  • 260 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • tbsp (2.03 tbsp) white sugar
  • 1 tsp (½ tsp) salt
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 115 g (½ cup) lightly salted butter
  • egg wash

Cream Filling

  • cup (1 cup) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup mascarpone
  • 2-4 tbsp (2-3 tbsp) powdered icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste or extract with seeds
  • pinch salt

Instructions

  • Proof the yeast: In a small bowl, add milk and heat in the microwave for 5 seconds, or until it’s lukewarm but not hot. This can also be done in a small saucepan over low heat but be very aware of overheating. Pour the milk into a small bowl and whisk in the yeast and sugar to dissolve. Set aside until the mixture is foamy, about 3-5 minutes. This is to ensure that you yeast is alive and strong.
  • Mix the dough: Into the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour and salt, the yeast mixture and eggs. Using the dough hook, mix on low until it forms a scraggy dough. Cover and allow to sit for 10 minutes. This is a form of autolyse process that gives time for the flour to hydrate and gluten bonds to begin form.
  • Knead the dough: Remove cover and continue to kneading on low, scraping the dough from the sides and hook occasionally. Keep kneading until looks soft, slightly shiny and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. This should take about 8 minutes on low speed. Only add an additional tablespoon or two of flour if the dough continues to stick to the sides after this time. Trust the process.
  • Add the butter: Once you dough has reaches the smooth, soft consistency, begin adding the butter, small amounts at a time. Continue kneading as each addition is fully incorporate into the dough before adding the next. The dough will start looking extra shiny, soft and due to the butter and egg, it will take on a yellowish appearance.
  • Rise and chill dough: When all the butter is added and the dough looks beautifully shiny, soft and supple, transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Shape it into a ball. Lightly grease or oil your large bowl and place in the dough. Cover it with a dish towel or cling film and allow to rise at room temperature for or 1-1/2 hours or until it has nearly doubled in size. Note that the rising time is slow due to the amount of fat content in the dough. You can take a photo of the initial dough or make a marking on the side of the bowl to give you an indictor to compare the final dough against.
  • Refrigerate the dough: Once to dough has risen, gently deflate and form again into a ball on your lightly floured work surface. Return to bowl again and cover. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and chill for 2 to 24 hours. Refrigeration firms up the butter, creating a more manageable dough but also improves the taste of the final dough.
  • Preheat the oven: 180°C/350°F degrees. Line 2 baking trays and set aside.
  • Portion and shape buns: Divide the dough into 8-10 pieces. Take each piece of dough and lightly flatten, pull edges inwards to the centre . Flip over and roll along the bench-top to create a tighter surface tension.
    Place the rolled bun onto tray and repeat with the rest of the dough. Allow space between each bun. Cover with a greased piece of plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, about an hour.
  • Bake the buns: Baste with egg wash and Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and place on heatproof surface to cool completely.
  • Prepare the cream: In a large bowl whip cream, mascarpone, vanilla extract and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag. and set aside in fridge.
  • Bring it all together: Slice each bun across the top on a 45degree angle, without cutting through the bottom. Fill each bun with the cream and smooth it out with a spatula. Dust the buns with extra powdered sugar and serve.

Notes

Variations: The cream can be swirled with your favourite jam, spread (nutella, PB, Biscoff) before being filled in the buns. 
 

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