The latest installment in James Wan’s The Conjuring Universe has arrived. The Nun, directed by Corin Hardy (The Hallow), starring Demián Bichir (Alien: Covenant) and Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story, The Final Girls), is a departure from the usual haunted houses of the franchise and takes us to a Romanian monastery inhabited by a terrifying demon nun. Two nuns up, or a bunch of nunsense? You can read the Nightmare on Film Street Review here.

No matter your feelings on the movie, the setting is beautiful. From the castle-like abbey to the creepy crypts and underground tunnels, the Romanian architecture and religious iconography create a gorgeously gothic atmosphere.

This Nun-inspired recipe draws on both Romanian cuisine and religious symbols. The filling is a pumped-up version of a Romanian stewed cabbage dish called varza calita, flavored with garlic, white wine, tomato, herbs, and delicious smoked paprika, which sinfully makes all vegetarian food taste like ham. The buns are similar to German bierocks, but crossed like hot cross buns to evoke our wicked demon nun. The combination of bread and a filling splashed with wine makes these the body and blood of Christ rolled into one – and a recipe every bit as blasphemous as the film. Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Cabbage-stuffed Hot Cross Buns

For the dough
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ ounce package yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon salt
3 ½ – 4 cups flour

Lightly warm the milk (not so hot as to kill the yeast), and in a mixing bowl, mix well with butter and sugar. Mix in the yeast and allow to sit for 10 minutes until foamy. Stir in the egg and salt, and 3 cups of the flour. When it pulls together in a shaggy ball, dump on a well-floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, adding flour a little at a time when it becomes too sticky to handle (another ½ cup to 1 cup). You are aiming for a slightly tacky, very elastic dough. Roll into a ball and place in a greased bowl covered with a damp dishcloth to rise for about an hour.

 

For the filling
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
¼ cup white wine
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
½ – 1 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
½ pound sauerkraut
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Heat butter on medium heat and cook onion until deeply golden. Add garlic and paprika and stir until fragrant, and splash in the wine. Cook until dry, then add tomatoes, salt and bay leaves, and cook, stirring often, until tomatoes are completely broken down and jammy. Add sauerkraut (you don’t need to drain, but pull out with your hands so you don’t take too much of the liquid) and cook until mixture is thick and mostly dry. Remove from heat, stir in dill and parsley, and adjust seasoning if necessary. (Since this is a filling, you want it a little drier and saltier than if it were a side dish).

For assembly
1 tablespoon milk
3-4 tablespoons flour

Punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal balls. One at a time, roll out to about 6 inches in diameter and put a couple spoonfuls of the cabbage mixture in the center. Gather the dough around the mixture and pinch together well to seal, then gently roll the whole ball in your hands to shape. Place sealed side-down on a greased baking sheet and continue with remaining buns.

Allow to rise for 30 minutes. 20 minutes into the rising time, heat the oven to 375°. Brush the balls with milk. For the crosses, whisk together flour with enough water to make a consistency thick enough to hold its shape but thin enough to be piped. Scrape into a piping bag and pipe crosses.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Cool slightly and serve.

 

the nun
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