Episode 11: Craving Cardamom Buns!

A tray of gorgeous cardamom buns

In this episode I was talking about some of the things I have been baking, including sourdough. One of my favourite books of 2020, and I am continuing to use it in 2021, is James Morton’s book Super Sourdough.

I’m still excited about all things pie and pastry, I’m binge-watching Erin Jeanne McDowell’s videos on the Food52 YouTube channel and contemplating buying The Book on Pie for a self-given birthday present.

I made a pear, walnut and blue cheese tart, from page 28 of BBC Good Food’s Vegetarian Christmas 2020, which was a bit time consuming but absolutely delicious. The pastry was made from 100g wholemeal flour, 100g plain flour, 50g walnut, 100g cold butter, 1 egg and 50g blue cheese. This pastry will be made again and again and customised! YUM!

I also made a rhubarb crumble recipe using seasonal forced Yorkshire rhubarb. I roasted 400g rhubarb (in thumb sized pieces) in 80g caster sugar and 1 tsp ground ginger in a moderate oven (180C / 160 fan/ gas 4/ 350 F) for ten minutes. Meanwhile, I made a crumble using 200g plain flour, 110g salted butter, 1 tsp ground ginger, 55g dark brown sugar and 55g golden granulated sugar. I rubbed the butter into the flour then stirred in the rest. I crumbled this mixture over the fruit and baked in the oven at the same temperature for around 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and crunchy.

Beautiful forced Yorkshire rhubarb

On to the main event: cardamom buns!

Kate’s Brioche Dough

Loosely based on the Sally Lunn buns in Regula Ysewijn’s book Oats in the North, Wheat from the South (yes, I’m obsessed…). Can be adapted to make cinnamon buns too. Or try making brioche rolls with 1/2 tsp nutmeg and maybe some nutmeg butter on top, trust me it’s good!

Ingredients:

  • 500g strong white flour (plain will also work but may need a bit more kneading)
  • 8g (or a 7g sachet) of instant/ fast-action yeast [the kind you can bung in with the flour]
  • 300ml single cream (about 20% fat) OR 150ml double cream (about 40% fat) and 150ml whole milk
  • 50g butter
  • 60g caster/superfine sugar (granulated would also be okay)
  • 2 UK medium/ US large eggs (c. 50g each)
  • 5g salt (a bit less if using salted butter)
  • Egg yolk and 1 or 2 tsp milk for egg-washing buns
  • If making cardamom buns: 10 cardamom pods for steeping with cream and 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Method

  1. Melt the butter and leave it to cool, or just bring it up to room temperature.
  2. Measure the flour in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Fork through the salt, sugar (and cinnamon, if using). When that’s well mixed, mix through the yeast.
  3. If making cardamom buns, warm the cream to steaming with 10 cracked cardamom pods, then leave to cool until it is warm but not hot. Strain to remove the cardamom. Otherwise, warm the cream (or cream and milk) so it is ‘hand hot’ (feel warm but not hot).
  4. Mix the cream into the dough with a fork or dough whisk until it’s a shaggy mess (you could hold a bit of liquid back if necessary). Knead in the eggs and butter. If it’s looking too wet to work with, feel free to leave it to ‘autolyse’ for 20-30 minutes so the flour is able to absorb more moisture. Then proceed to knead until smooth and pulling away from the sides. It will just about be at a window-pane consistency or maybe just before that. It is hard to achieve this with this high a fat content!
  5. Leave to rise until doubled in size. This will vary from 40 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the temperature! It is now ready to be rolled out or shaped into a brioche.

Cardamom Fillingadapted from Cassie Best

Ingredients:

  • 25 cardamom pods
  • 150g caster/superfine sugar (granulated would also work, especially if you grind it with the cardamom)
  • 100g butter, softened
  • Optional: a further 5-10 cardamom pods for the topping

Method:

Crack the cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar. Discard the shells and grind fairly finely. Combine with the sugar. Mix with the butter.

Now to combine the bread and filling!

1. On a floured work surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll out to a large rectangle. Spread over the cardamom sugar butter mixture, as comprehensively as you can. Fold over in thirds, or fold in half, reserving some butter, then spread more butter, then fold in half again. (The latter will get you even more twisty bits on your finished buns!) If you have time, rest this for 10 or 20 minutes on the work surface (or on baking paper) just to relax the gluten again. Meanwhile, butter then flour a 12-hole muffin tin.

2. Cut into 12 strips. Then take each strip and cut it almost entirely in half leaving a little bit still joined at the top. Twist the two strands around each other, then fold it under then over in a circle. Place these into the prepared muffin tin. Leave to rise again until puffy (it may not be fully doubled in size but don’t worry, it will puff up well in the oven!)

3. Use a pastry brush to egg wash the buns with the yolk and a teaspoon or so of milk. This makes them shiny and even more beautiful, but it isn’t absolutely necessary.

4. If wanted (for real cardamom heads and for Swedish authenticity), crack open the extra cardamom pods and use these to sprinkle on the top of the buns.

5. Bake your chubby babies in a preheated oven at around 190C / 170 fan / 375 F for 20-25 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin a bit but take them out while they’re still warm as it’s easier to do so. ENJOY!!!!

A cardamom bun “chubby baby”, plated

Alternative chocolate-pistachio filling

Roast 100g pistachios in a medium or low oven for about 10 minutes. Melt 75g dark chocolate and 75g salted butter together and stir them with 2tsp icing sugar. Leave to cool but still liquid- you don’t want it too hot as it will kill the yeast. Roughly chop the pistachios. Roll out the dough on a floured surface, spread over the chocolate then scatter over most of the pistachios. Make into large rolls (like a traditional cinnamon roll). Wash with egg yolk before scattering the remaining pistachios.

To make Swedish cinnamon rolls instead – adapted from the cinnamon bun recipe in Scandikitchen: Fika and Hygge by Bronte Aurell

Add 2 tsp ground cardamom to the dough. Make a filling using 75g butter, 75g light brown soft sugar (I prefer it but feel free to just use caster), 1 tsp vanilla and 1.5 tablespoons ground cinnamon.

Golden brown cinnamon buns on a cooling rack

Chocolate and tahini filling variation – adapted from Edd Kimber. Melt 100g dark chocolate and 50g butter. Stir in 100g tahini, 55g brown sugar and 2-3 tbsp plain/strong white flour to achieve a spreadable consistency. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before or after baking.

Chocolate and tahini buns!

Published by Kate

Home baker and now podcaster!

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