Cardamom Buns

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Do you like cardamom? Head over this way. Do you like fluffy layers, soft, almost toffee like filling, sticky underneaths and crunchy sugar topping? Then these are the buns for you to try. They are amazing warm straight out the oven, when their beautiful aroma fills the house and the layers practically beg you to pull them apart and devour hot in front of the oven.

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I love cardamom’s warmth, that amazing almost lemony like flavour. It’s such a powerful spice, both in savoury as well as in sweet dishes. These buns have plenty of it – it’s present in the dough, in the filling and in the crunchy sugar sprinkled on top. I have used an organic cardamom powder which I have purchased from Steenbergs Organic, a family run business based in North Yorkshire. I love their company’s ethics, attention to detail and friendliness. Steenbergs have an amazing range of products, faitrade and organic as well as carefully sourced local items – as you can imagine, my on-line basket is full of spice jars and few other chosen paraphernalia, waiting for that final click… My imagination is running wild just thinking about the ways of using the spices once they arrive, yay!

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I like my buns rich so the dough contains both butter and eggs. It’s yeasted so it has two resting periods before the buns are baked. Because the buns are drenched in sweet syrup, I make them with bread flour for robustness and watch them carefully as they bake since they can burn easily. They may seem complicated to make at first, but don’t be afraid to have a go and if necessary wing it. Whatever shapes you end up with, they will be unique to you and their flavour unaffected by few unravelled strands. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 600 grams strong flour
  • 90 grams of sugar
  • 10 grams of ground cardamom
  • 15 grams of instant yeast
  • 5 grams of salt
  • 250 ml of milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 grams of unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the filling:

  • 100 grams of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 100 grams muscavado sugar
  • 30 grams of ground cardamom

Additionally:

  • 70 ml of sugar syrup made by heating 50 ml of water with 20 ml of golden syrup
  • 70 grams of cardamom sugar made by mixing up 50 grams of sugar with 20 grams of ground cardamom

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Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir together to combine. Add the milk and eggs and start mixing before adding the melted butter. Knead the dough until it turns soft and elastic. This could take up to 15 minutes and the dough should be pliable and not sticky at all. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and allow it to rest somewhere warm and draft free. The dough will rise within an hour or two to double its size.

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Once the dough has had its first rise, remove it onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it out into a large rectangle so that you have the shorter sides facing you top and bottom and the longer sides on the left and right. Make the filling by mixing all the ingredients together until fluffy. Spread the filling liberally on the dough, right to the edges. Now fold one third of the dough from the bottom towards the middle of your rectangle. Repeat from the top so that you end up with the filling enclosed by the dough layers. Now fold the rectangle on itself so that you have four layers of dough and two layers of the filling. You can lightly roll it with a rolling pin at this point.

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Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut the rectangle into strips of equal width. Twist them around your fingers to wrap the buns into their distinctive shapes. Or you can twist the dough and spiral it on itself like in the above photo. Place the shaped buns on a baking tray lined with baking paper. You should end up with around 18 buns so you will need a couple of trays since the buns will grow during their rest period and again when baked. Cover the buns with tea towels or cling film and allow to rest for 45 minutes until fluffed up.

In the meantime preheat the oven to 220°C. Prepare the syrup and the cardamom sugar and have them ready on the side.

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Once the buns have fluffed up, drizzle each one of them with the syrup and sprinkle generously with the sugar. Don’t worry about being too neat here, wherever the sugar and syrup meet on the baking tray, they will form sticky puddles that will turn into a delicious caramel in the hot oven and get stuck to the buns. Best bits!

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Bake the buns for 8 to 10 minutes. Watch them carefully and if necessary rotate the trays. Because of the syrup and sugar, they can burn easily so don’t walk away.

Remove the buns from the oven once deeply golden and sticky. Allow to rest for few minutes so that the caramel and toffee like filling set a little before moving the buns onto a cooling rack. Devour whilst still warm – they are truly scrumptious. Enjoy x

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