Swedish Cardamom Buns Recipe: A Sweet Way to Bring a Taste of Sweden to Your Table by Keri De Deo
I lived in Sweden for a year as a junior in high school. That year changed my life, and every once in a while, I come across a Swedish recipe that transports me back to Sweden. One such recipe is for cardamom buns. The buttery smell, the crunch of the pearl sugar and the distinct spice transports me back to the crisp air, green trees and the canals of Fagersta, the little town where I lived. Whether you've been to Scandinavia or not, this recipe will give you a taste of Sweden.
Prep Time: 40 rising time / 2 1/2 prep hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 80 minutes, approximately (including rising time)
Servings: Makes 12 buns
- 425 grams strong white flour (bread flour)
- 75 grams caster (superfine) sugar (I used regular granulated sugar)
- 7 grams fast-action dried yeast
- 5 grams (1/2 tablespoon) freshly ground cardamom
- 3 grams (1/2 teaspoon) salt
- 125 grams water
- 125 grams whole milk (I used half and half)
- 75 grams butter, softened and cut into small cubes
- 10 grams (1 tablespoon) freshly ground cardamom
- 100 grams granulated sugar
- 100 grams butter, softened
Here's how to make it:
- Add the flour, sugar, dried yeast and ground cardamom to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix thoroughly, and then stir in the salt.
- Add the water and milk to a pan and heat gently until lukewarm, 95 to 105 degrees F. (Use a thermometer. If it's too hot, let it cool. The heat can kill the yeast.) Add to the spiced flour and mix to form a rough dough.
- On speed 2 (kMix) or 3 (KitchenAid), slowly add the softened butter, a cube at a time, taking 2 or 3 minutes to add all the butter.
- Continue to knead on speed 2 or 3, adding additional flour if the dough is too sticky. The idea is to end up with a dough that is workable and only slightly sticky to the touch, but does not stick to your hands when you handle it. You may not need to add any extra flour; it depends on the flour, but take care to avoid adding too much as your buns will turn out rather dry. Once you have made any adjustments required to the amount of flour, continue to knead on speed 2 or 3 for a further 3 minutes. (Keep an eye on it. Kneading it longer is okay until it's a manageable consistency. The butter needs to be completely incorporated into the dough.)
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. (I put a little olive oil on my hands so the dough doesn't stick.) Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about an hour at 75 degrees F, 90 minutes at 68 degrees F or 10 hours in a fridge.
- To make the filling, add the softened butter and 85 grams of the sugar and cardamom mixture to a bowl and mix thoroughly using a fork. Optional: Keep the remaining sugar and cardamom mixture for step 12. (I put all of this in the filling.)
- Line two baking trays with parchment paper and set aside. (I used a muffin tin with white muffin cups. I remember these served on white liners, and I wanted to replicate it.) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, flatten into a rough rectangle (with your hands), roll out until approximately 50x40 centimeters (20x16 inches) and then, using a spatula, spread the filling evenly over the dough.
- Fold the half of the dough nearest you over the top half, so you end up with a rectangle about 50x20 centimeters (20x8 inches). Roll it out until it is about 50x30 centimeter (20x12 inches).
- Using a pizza cutter or a knife, cut the dough into 12 (approximately 70 grams per bun) or 16 strips (approximately 50 grams per bun). The width of the strips is not important, but each strip does need to be at least 25 centimeters (10 inches) long.
- This is where I deviated from the recipe and followed a technique I learned in my favorite cookbook, Fika. I cut 12 1 1/2- inch strips, and then cut the middle of the strips about an inch from the top. Twist the two sides away from each other and then cross over each side and twist under the top flap at the top. Don't worry too much about the look because you're going to put it in the muffin tin. Just make sure they are all the same size so they cook evenly. Tuck them gently into the muffin tin, making sure some of the twists and knots show. For more options for twisting the buns, visit SwedishFood.com.
- Cover with a cloth and leave for about 60 minutes until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F at least 30 minutes before you will be ready to bake. (I found 450 degrees F too hot. Reduce to 425 degrees F and watch the buns closely so they don't overbake.)
- Make the glaze by heating the water, sugar and vanilla paste or vanilla extract in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves, and then bring to a boil. Leave to cool while you bake the buns. (I wished for more glaze, so you might consider doubling this if you want your buns sweeter.)
- Bake the buns for 8 to 12 minutes until golden brown, rotating the tray if they don't brown evenly. (Check them at 8 minutes, cook 2 more minutes at a time until golden brown.)
- Brush with the glaze (you may not need it all) and then cover with a cloth to prevent the buns from going dry. (I poured the glaze over the buns while they were still in the muffin tin and then topped with pearl sugar.) After 5 to 10 minutes, transfer to a cooling rack and cover until you are ready to eat them! They’re best served hot.
Note: I recommend using grams for accuracy because 5 grams is a bit more than 1/2 tablespoon of cardamom.
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