Scandi-Baking..

Is there anything the Nordics don’t do better than the rest of us – healthcare, affordable furnishings, hit political dramas, beautiful children, and festive baking.. the list goes on. These buns are a sort-of take on St. Lucia buns, except I didn’t have any saffron, and I love love love the taste of wintery spices like cardamon. I used almost the exact recipe from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book, swapping out the saffron for cardamon.

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Ingredients

2 packages active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup heavy cream (I didn’t have any, and used 1/2 cup greek yoghurt – it seemed perfect)

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 tsp cardamon seeds (split the pod, and empty out the little black things)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Grated rind of 1/2 a clementine.

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, room temperature

4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Egg wash glaze

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

1. Pop the yeast in the bowl of a mixer with the warm water, and stir gently. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and stir again. Let the mixture stand until the yeast goes all foamy – this will take about 5 minutes.

2. Add the remaining sugar, the melted butter, the cream and milk, the spices, salt and finally the eggs. Beat the mixture well until combined.

3. Remove paddle attachment (normal cake-mixer cake) from mixer and fit with the dough hook. Add flour 1 cup at a time mixing well with each addition to keep the dough smooth and satiny. You may not need to use all of the flour.

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4. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, or up to 24 hours.

5. Preheat oven to 190C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

6. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 26 even pieces. Roll each square into a long rope, and curl each end of a rope in opposite directions, creating an “S” swirly shape (for immaculately shaped St. Lucia buns, see sprinkle bakes)

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7. For the glaze, beat the egg with the milk, and brush liberally on each bun.

7. Place sheets in a warm place for the second prove (rise) until doubled in size – this will take about 30-45 minutes.

8. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy, cool on a wire rack. They freeze well, and only stay fresh for about 24 hours – after that, pop them in the oven/microwave to heat. They are even more delish with lemon curd.

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