Filled with rich vanilla cream or vanilla pudding, Norwegian School Bread is a special treat to include in your children's lunches or to prepare for a special school gathering.
- Combine milk and butter and heat in a saucepan over medium-high heat just until milk is scalded (when small bubbles rise uniformly across the surface of the liquid). Remove from heat and cool until "finger-warm."
- Stir yeast and sugar into lukewarm milk and allow to sit for 10 minutes. The surface should begin to bubble as the yeast proofs. After 10 minutes, stir in cardamom and flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- When the dough has risen, punch it down, remove to a floured surface, and knead until smooth and shiny. Use your hands to roll dough into a thick 18"-long "snake," then cut this length into 20 equal pieces. Roll each piece between your hands into a spherical bun and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover the buns again with the towel and allow to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Prepare pudding mix as directed, only reducing milk to 2 1/2 cups. Allow pudding to thicken at room temperature while your buns rise.
- Preheat oven to 375º. When the buns have risen, gently press down the center of each one to form a well. Fill with 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of pudding (you'll probably have some pudding left over). Allow to rise an additional 10 minutes.
- Brush well-beaten egg on to the edges and sides of the buns. Place in heated oven and bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool. Brush sugar glaze on the top of the buns, around but not over the pudding "eye." Dip into shredded coconut.