Sunday Drives And Beet Leaf Buns With Garlic Cream Dill Sauce

beet_leaf_buns_2_mfbI took my kids out for a little road trip this past weekend, just for the day, to get out of the house and have a little break before school starts next week.  While we were driving, I was having a conversation with my oldest son, you know the conversation, the one that starts with “Remember when we went to…?”.  Then he looked at me with blank, vacant eyes and said “I don’t remember that.”

beet_leaf_buns_collageSuddenly I had a flashback to when my parents asked me the exact same question and I had the exact same answer.  How many Sunday drives did we take when we were growing up?  Lots and lots and lots!  How many do I remember?  I can probably count them on one hand.

beet_leaf_buns_3_mfbThat got me to thinking about why we take these little road trips if no one is going to remember them? Heck, why do we do anything? Play dates, movie nights, special dinners and celebrations, vacations?  What’s the point if it will all be forgotten?  I thought about that question for the entire ride home.

flowers_mfbThat was when I realized that it doesn’t matter if they remember this exact road trip, or that play date, or even that vacation when they were four years old. We took some time to spend together and explore somewhere we’ve never been before.  We packed a lunch and took a day and just enjoyed ourselves. It really doesn’t matter where we went or what we did there, but 30 years from now, I want them to remember that we did things like this.  It’s the whole memory that is the point, not necessarily the pieces and details of the whole.

day_trippinIt’s important for them because even though they may not realize it now, someday when they are out with their own children, they too will ask “Remember when we did…?” and their children will also look at them with blank, vacant eyes and say “I don’t remember that.”

But I guarantee you that if you make these beet leaf buns with garlic cream dill sauce you will remember them.  They are that good.


Beet Leaf Buns With Garlic Cream Dill Sauce

Prep Time: 4 hours

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 60 - 75 buns

This recipe is a family favorite that has been enjoyed for many generations. We usually made it in the late summer when all the beets in the garden are ready to be picked. We would always make lots and then store some in the freezer to be enjoyed over the winter.


    For The Beet Leaf Buns
  • fresh beet leaves, washed and dried
  • 8 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 7 - 8 cups all-purpose flour
  • For The Garlic Cream Dill Sauce
  • 2 cups whipping (heavy) cream
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 10 button mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen dill, chopped (if using dried, use less)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, to taste
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch


For The Beet Leaf Buns

Turn your oven on and let the oven begin to heat up for 3 or 4 minutes then turn the heat off. Warming the oven this way will give your dough excellent conditions for rising.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add warm water, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and yeast. Stir gently until yeast is combined and then let mixture sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, your yeast mixture should have grown and become frothy. If it has not grown, your yeast is dead and you must start over with either a new batch of yeast or perhaps your water temperature was too hot and it accidentally killed the yeast.

To the yeast mixture add 4 cups of flour, the remaining sugar, salt, oil, and eggs. Turn the mixer on low and mix until incorporated. Add 2 more cups of flour; mix again. Add 1 more cup of flour; mix again. Increase speed to medium and mix until dough is well combined. Continue mixing for several minutes. Your dough should begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too sticky and does not pull away from the sides, add an additional 1/4 cup of flour at a time until it begins to pull away. The dough should still be slightly sticky and not completely dry.

Transfer the dough to a large bowl that is lightly coated with oil. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and place in the warmed oven. Do not turn the oven back on. Insert a wooden spoon or similar object in the oven door to prevent it from closing all the way. This will allow a small amount of the heat to escape. You don’t want to cook the dough yet, just warm it enough for it to rise. Let the dough rise for 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size. Once it has risen, punch it down, and cover it with a tea towel and place it back in the oven to repeat the process.

Once the dough is ready, cut off a small amount of dough (about 2 tablespoons) and roll it into a log about 2-1/2 inches long. Wrap each log loosely with a beet leaf, or a portion of a beet leaf to fit. Place the wrapped dough seam side down on a lightly greased baking sheet. Do not overcrowd the sheet. Once the sheet is full, cover it with a tea towel and let it rise for 10 minutes while the oven preheats.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Bake the beet leaf buns for 25 minutes or until golden. Some of the beet leaves may split as the buns rise and bake, but those are up for grabs and can be smothered in butter and eaten immediately, no questions asked.

The cooked buns can be eaten plain, with butter, or with garlic cream dill sauce. Cooked and cooled buns can be frozen in resealable bags.

For The Garlic Cream Dill Sauce

In a saucepan, combine the whipping cream, milk, mushrooms, onion, dill, garlic, and salt and pepper. Bring to a low boil over medium high heat. Be careful once the sauce is boiling because the high fat content of the whipping cream will cause the sauce to boil over easily. Stir constantly for 2 or 3 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce has reduced slightly. While simmering, taste periodically and adjust the salt and pepper as needed.

In a small bowl combine the water and cornstarch. Mix thoroughly to make a slurry and add the slurry to the cream sauce. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the sauce back to a boil to thicken. If the sauce thickens too much, add a splash of milk to thin it down.

At this stage, you can pour the sauce directly over the beet buns to serve them, or you can bake the buns with the sauce, which is our family’s favorite way to have them.

To bake the beet leaf buns with garlic cream dill sauce, preheat the oven to 350 F.

Layer beet leaf buns (fresh or frozen) in a casserole dish or roasting pan. Liberally pour garlic cream dill sauce over the buns. Cover and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.


Original Recipe by My Friend's Bakery 2013

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    • My Friend's Bakery says:

      I’m not sure of the true Ukrainian name since I don’t speak Ukrainian. I’ll have to ask around but I’ll be sure to advise if/when I learn the actual name. We always referred to them as simply Beet Leaf Buns.

    • Carlene says:

      My family is Ukrainian, and my grandma always makes them for Ukrainian Christmas, and whenever really. But the Ukrainian name (I believe) is papaholubtsi (papa-holubchi). That’s what we refer to them as.

      • My Friend's Bakery says:

        Thank you for the info. It’s nice to hear that other families have some of the same traditions as we do. Sometimes, over time, traditional Ukrainian traditions get lost and therefore we assume that they are true when they may not be, so it’s nice to have some validation. 🙂

  1. Audrey Dmytriw says:

    Yes these are truly a dish to die for my kids can hardly wait for me to make them.I grew up with them ,was raised on a farm in Sask. and we had at least once in too weeks .but I do add a handful of chopped up fresh dill leaves to the dough towards the end of kneading the dough ,and I brush my buns with softened butter over the top. We like the cream sauce with only green onions ,dill leafs all chopped with whipping cream and a heaping tablespoon of sour cream mixed in with the whopping cream,sauteed in a frying pan until it thickens a little then pour over the baked beet leaf rolls and …..Enjoy! this Ukrainian dish.

    • My Friend's Bakery says:

      I love it with green onions too. I tend to use whatever I have on hand, so sometimes it’s green onions an sometimes it’s white. Maybe next time I’ll add dill to the dough too because that sounds delicious!

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