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A tale of freedom

Passport & Plate - Romeo and Juliet Buns

Brazil | Friday, 7 March 2014 | 5 photos

1250 grams of sifted plain wheat flour
4 eggs
250ml milk at room temperature
250ml water at room temperature
125 grams melted butter
125 grams sugar
1 teaspoon salt
50 grams fresh yeast
60ml sunflower oil
200 grams guava paste
200 grams cream cheese

How to prepare this recipe
- In a large bowl melt the yeast with sugar and salt. Add milk, water, three lightly beaten eggs, melted butter and oil. Stir well and start adding the flour gradually. Knead well. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise until it has doubled its size.
- Cut cubes of about 2x2 cm guava paste. Reserve.
- Once the dough has doubled its size, divide it into 40 portions. Form small buns and place one teaspoon of cream cheese and one cube of guava paste inside each one. Make them round and nice.
- Place them on a baking tray with baking paper on and let them rise again until the buns have doubled their size.
- Brush all with a slightly beaten egg and bake in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes or until light golden.

Yield: 40 buns.

Serving suggestion: Cafézinho (black Brazilian coffee) or chamomile tea.

The story behind this recipe
When I was a kid my mother used to prepare this buns recipe. It was so nice to come from school and feel the sweet smell that invaded the whole house. One day my teacher forgot to bring her snack and I shared my buns with her. When she took the first bite she got completely enraptured by the soft texture of the dough and the unusual blend of cream cheese and guava paste. That same day she asked my mom to make her a batch to take home and she kept ordering weekly. My mother, a suburban housewife with a husband and three children, saw a great chance to start a business in her own home. And so she did it. It was not long until she was already selling, besides the already famous buns, several other mouth watering goodies. She had many customers who always came back for more. I became her little helper in the kitchen, which made me fall in love with that world of flavors, colors and shapes. With the money she got she was able to give us a slightly more comfortable life. When my father got unemployed, it was her who kept the home economy running for a while. After many years working tirelessly in the kitchen she decided it was time to keep her delicacies for family and friends only and she dedicated herself entirely to her paintings. It was then when her doctor found a lymphoma allocated close to her spine. That put her ill in bed for a whole year. As she has always been an active person she could not stay still for long. She wanted to find a way to get rid of the illness, even if it was just for a brief moment, and she knew exactly how to do it: by cooking! Every time that my kids and I went for a visit she thought them a new little thing. Their first recipe together was, of course, the buns that I love so much. After one year of chemotherapy she was fully healed. This recipe is, for our family, a symbol of freedom and celebration of life being passed through three generations. We hope to keep it alive for the next to come. It is real love in the shape of a bun.

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