This week started with a baking spree and ended with a baking spree. I’ve been doling out cinnamon buns and cardamom twists to spread the carb love and show how great Scandinavian baking really is. We have some of the best buns in the world (pun intended, harhar!) so I reckon it’s about time the world snapped out of its love affair with cupcakes and embraced spicy baked buns.
These cardamom twists are a riff on the more familiar cinnamon bun. They look pretty and are a doddle to make. I had some spelt flour sent from Sharpham Park so I simply used it to great effect in this recipe. You can of course use regular wheat flour, but I find spelt really digestible and the dough is always so pillowy and beautiful that I stick with spelt for bun baking, and bread baking in general. I’ll be serving these and lots more Scandi baked treats at my Eat Scandi Brunches this spring and look forward to hearing what diners think.
Hope you give these a go, and if you do let me know how you get on
Makes 16-20 twists
- 250ml whole milk
- 50g butter
- 500g refined spelt (or 50:50 plain: strong flour)
- 75g caster sugar
- 1½ tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp fine sea salt if using salted butter, increase to 2tsp if unsalted
- 15g fresh yeast or 7g dried yeast
- 1 medium egg, beaten
Cardamom Butter Filling
- 75g butter, softened
- 75g caster sugar (or light brown sugar if you want a slightly caramelised flavour)
- 2 tsp finely ground cardamom
- 1 medium egg, beaten
- Demerara sugar or large sugar crystals
Scald the milk by heating it in a small pan until it is almost boiling and then allow it to cool while you assemble the other ingredients. Scalding the milk makes the finished buns softer.
Sift flour, sugar, cardamom and salt together in to a large bowl. If using fresh yeast, cream it with a teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl and once it is liquid (after about 30 seconds), add to the dry ingredients.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, add the beaten egg and then the milk-butter mixture, which should be warm rather than hot to the touch, as otherwise you risk killing the yeast. Stir everything together until the mixture comes off the sides of the bowl and looks – for want of a better word – doughy. Place the dough in a lightly oiled plastic bag and leave overnight to cold ferment in the fridge. Be aware that the carbon dioxide gas from fermentation will expand the bag so make sure you leave plenty of space around the dough.
When you are ready to bake, remove the dough from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature or 30 minutes or so. In the meantime, cream together the butter, sugar and cardamom in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth butter.
Roll the dough in to a large rectangle approximately 30cm x 50cm. Using a spatula, spread the cardamom filling over half of the pastry lengthways, so that one side (roughly 15cm x 50cm) is smoothly covered. Fold the other half of the dough on top of the filling-covered section, pressing gently around the edges and dabbing them with a bit of water to seal in the cardamom butter filling.
Use a sharp knife to slice the dough to 16 or 20 strips (depending upon how big you want to make the buns). Pick up a strip of dough and twist the ends in opposite directions two or three times and then coil the strip in on itself, tucking the ends underneath and sealing them in place with a dab of water. Once you have twisted all the strips, place them on a lined baking sheet, cover with lightly oiled clingfilm and leave to prove in a warm place for 10-15 minutes until the dough no longer springs back when prodded gently with your little finger. Spelt flour doesn’t need much proving I find but use your judgement.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Glaze the twists with beaten egg and scatter sugar over them. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 15 minutes, checking after 10 minutes to see that they aren’t taking on too much colour or singeing. If you find that they are getting too dark, lower the temperature by 20°C or so until they are cooked through and sound hollow when you tap them on the base.
Allow to cool on a wire rack before eating. These freeze well, all you have to do is wrap in aluminium foil and keep for a rainy day. Reheat in a 150 C oven…