Tuesday, 15 December 2015

swedish cardamom buns (kardemummabullar)

Whenever I'm feeling like I need some loving in my life I surround myself with my family, friends and baking. The imperfect world becomes perfect even if for a little while with the sharing of food and stories and laughter. All unnecessary things are forgotten after that first sip of tea or first bite of something sweet. As we enter the third week of December I'm very aware that the year is coming to a close and have started to obsessively make lists (I am a perennial list maker). I've also started on deleting hundreds of food photos I don't need and random screen shots on my phone - yep you guessed it, screenshots of food! It's taken up all my phone memory and slowed everything down, which doesn't make Instagramming very instant.

So I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy a couple of sisters days out recently where all our schedules happened to be aligned at the right moment. Firstly we had a movie day and watched the new Hunger Games film (spoiler alert). Very disappointing. The ending appeared a hybrid scene channelling the meadow in Twilight ( I hold my hands up - I liked the first of the Twilight series), the ethereal shires in Lord of the Rings, and the extremely round faced baby was totally odd in the arms of Jennifer Lawrence. We also took a trip to famous Columbia Road flower market in East London and treated ourselves to lovely flowers and a very leisurely lunch. The intermingling of the Christmas trees and flowers created a lovely ambience. If only it hadn't been raining, but what would our lovely England be without rain?

And speaking of leisurely I shall move onto my Christmas baking series! I bring you my recipe for these amazing cardamom buns. Cardamom is truly the hero of the recipe here - no pandering to the whims of cinnamon or vanilla and creates deliciously unusual buns which are perfect with a coffee or tea as you enjoy a spot of Fika. Fika (apart from being a coffee shop in Brick Lane and which we happened to pass post-baking) is the Swedish name for a leisurely break spent hanging out with friends over a hot beverage and preferably buns - kind of like our afternoon tea. Definitely more fun than stopping for a few minutes to grab a coffee in between the rush to the photocopy machine and printer in your office. 

I've been searching high and low for a Swedish cardamom bun recipe and to be honest I've been a little confused by this recipe as some call for the addition of cinnamon in the filling and some are just filled with cinnamon with cardamom only in the dough. I mean I love cinnamon but wanted to make real cardamom buns that weren't overshadowed by the cinnamon. I didn't want the flavours to be competing so I decided to add just a hint of cinnamon in the cardamom filling with cardamom in the dough. 

Cardamom is the third most expensive spice in the world after saffron and vanilla. I couldn't get hold of pearl sugar so gave the buns a sugar glaze of syrup made with brown sugar which give them a glossy sheen and add a slightly caramel taste topping. So do as the Swedes do and grab some friends and make yourself cosy with my addition to the perfect tea break. 

Inspired by Fix Feast Flair

Ingredients (Makes 12 buns)
For the dough
220ml milk
1 packet dry active yeast (7g)
60g granulated sugar
375g flour
2/3 tsp cardamom seeds crushed
1/4 tsp salt
60g butter, melted
Oil to grease bowl

For the filling
50g butter room temp
55g brown sugar
1/2 tsp crushed cardamom seeds
1 tsp cinnamon

For the glaze
45g brown sugar
50ml water

Heat up the milk in a saucepan but do not boil. It should be a little more than lukewarm (110°F). Transfer to a bowl and add the yeast and let sit for at least 5 minutes.

In a large bowl mix dry ingredients. Add flour, salt, sugar, 1 tsp cardamom and make a well in the centre. Pour in milk and melted butter to the mixture and bring together with a wooden spoon.

Once combined tip onto a floured surface and knead well for about 7 minutes by hand or about 4 with a stand mixer. The mixture should be a quite soft.

Lightly oil a clean bowl and tip dough in and cover with a towel or cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for about an hour until the dough had doubled in size.

Punch the air out of the dough and top onto a lightly floured surface and knead roll out into a rectangle about

Mix butter brown sugar and spices together for the filling in a small bowl and spread evenly over the dough with a spatula leaving about a cm on the sides.

Fold a third of the dough inwards lengthways and fold the section with the exposed filling over the folded section-like you'd fold a letter. Gently roll out with once with a very light touch so that the filling is pressed to the dough.

Cut widthways into strips about 2cm wide and fold into shape. Easiest way to do this it to take a strip of the dough and starting one end wrap the strand around the tip of your thumb and forefinger two times, twisting the dough a little as you wrap, then take your thumb out of the roll and make a loop on the final wrap, tucking in the end underneath.   

Place on lined tray and prove once again for another 30 minutes and preheat oven to 220c or 200 (fan) /gas mark 7

Bake for 9-10 minutes until golden brown.

Meanwhile make the glaze by making the sugar syrup by heating up the brown sugar and water in a small pan until the syrup is one string consistency – or just bubbling up – this take about 3-4 minute son medium heat.

Once out of the oven, glaze the buns immediately and place on a wire rack to cool slightly before enjoying! 

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