Recipe of the week: Vanilla & Cardamom Knots
By Brontë Aurell author or The Scandi Kitchen cookbook (Ryland Peters & Small, £16.99) and owner of ScandiKitchen
A fresh take on the Swedish cinnamon bun, without the cinnamon.
Oven Temperature: 200°C (400°F) Gas 6.
Cooking Time: 10-12 mins + Preparation
Ingredients (Makes 16):
13 g dried yeast or 25 g fresh yeast *
250 ml whole milk, heated to 36–37°C (97–99°F)
80 g butter, melted and cooled slightly
40 g caster sugar
400–500 g white strong flour
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
flaked almonds, to decorate
*If using fresh yeast, add the warm milk to a mixing bowl and add the yeast; stir until dissolved, then pour into the bowl of the food mixer.
100 g butter, at room temperature
50 g sugar
1–2 teaspoons vanilla sugar or extract (or use the seeds from 1 vanilla pod)
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
80 g marzipan paste, chopped (optional)
3 tablespoons golden/light corn syrup and 6 tablespoons water, heated in a saucepan
2 baking sheets, greased and lined with baking parchment
Pour the warm milk into a bowl, sprinkle in the yeast and whisk together. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes to become bubbly. Pour into the bowl of a food mixer fitted with a dough hook. Start the machine and add the cooled, melted butter. Allow to combine with the yeast for 1 minute or so, then add the sugar. Allow to combine for 1 minute.
In a separate bowl, weigh out 400 g, add the cardamom and salt and mix together. Start adding the flour and spices into the milk mixture, bit by bit. Add half the beaten egg. Keep kneading for 5 minutes. You may need to add more flour – you want the mixture to end up a bit sticky, but not so much that it sticks to your finger if you poke it. It is better not to add too much flour as this will result in dry buns. You can always add more later.
Once mixed, leave the dough in a bowl and cover with a dish towel or clingfilm. Allow to rise for around 30 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
Dust a table top with flour and turn out the dough. Using your hands, knead the dough and work in more flour if needed. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 40 x 50 cm/16 x 20 in. rectangle.
To make the filling, place the butter in a bowl and add the sugar, vanilla sugar or extract and cardamom and mix well. Using a spatula, spread the butter evenly over the rolled-out dough. Sprinkle the marzipan (if using) over the filling, then fold half the dough on top of the other, lengthways (you will end up with a 20 x 50-cm/8 x 20-in rectangle). Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut 16 widthways strips of dough. Carefully take one strip and twist it a few times, then roll into a ‘knot’, carefully ensuring both ends are under or inside the bun so they do not spring open during baking. Place each bun on the baking sheet and leave to prove under a dish towel for another 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6.
Brush each bun lightly with the remaining beaten egg and bake in the preheated oven for 10–12 minutes. Watch the buns as they bake: they can go dark very quickly and you may also need to move the buns around in the oven if they are not baking evenly. When golden, remove from the oven and immediately place a damp clean dish towel on top for a few minutes to prevent the buns from going dry. Brush the warm syrup lightly over the buns and decorate with flaked almonds.
About Brontë Aurell:
Brontë Aurell is a Danish entrepreneur, restaurateur and cook. Together with her Swedish husband, Jonas, she runs the acclaimed ScandiKitchen Cafe and shop in Central London. She began her career in food with Innocent smoothies, before moving on to run her own company. Bronte has been published in national newspapers and magazines, including The Guardian, The Times, Sunday Express, HELLO! and ES Magazine (Evening Standard). Bronte and her food have also been featured on BBC Radio, Channel 4 and Danish TV. She lives in London with Jonas and their two daughters. Follow Brontë on Twitter: @Scanditwitchen