This is such a great accompaniment to grilled or pan-fried fish, crispy tofu, in tacos or even as a tangy alternative to guacamole with some crunchy tortilla chips. My home-grown chilis are pretty fierce this year so I actually only use half but if […]
I’m almost certain that homemade bread is good for the soul. The process of making the dough, the smell as it bakes and that first taste when it’s fresh from oven – it really does make me feel good. I love making a batch of something like this to indulge in over long weekend breakfasts.
I know that cardamom buns are a speciality in Sweden, particularly for fika (that’s a coffee break to you and I) but the only place I’ve ever actually tried one was in London so I’m not even going to pretend that these are in any way authentic. In fact they’re so in-authentic that I’ve adapted my recipe for coconut buns, which uses a tang zhong (roux) in the dough, but they are incredibly delicious! It’s the roux that makes these buns so deliciously soft and moist. Make it by simply combining 25g of bread flour with 100ml of water in a pan and cooking it until it becomes nice and thick. Leave it to cool before incorporating it into the dough mixture.
400g strong white bread flour
big pinch of salt
2 tsp instant yeast (1 sachet)
70ml warm milk
70ml warm water
40g butter (melted)
100g softened butter
25-30 green cardamom pods
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pearl sugar to finish (optional)
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and whisk in the salt, sugar and yeast. In a separate jug whisk together the melted butter, milk, water, egg and the cooled roux. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the liquid mixture. Combine to form a soft dough and knead until it is smooth and springy. You can do this either by hand or with an electric mixer but to be honest the dough is so nice to work with that it’s very therapeutic to do it by hand.
Wash and dry the bowl to make it lovely and warm and then lightly oil it (use something flavourless.) Wipe a large piece of cling-film around the bowl to oil that too. Pop the dough into the bowl and loosely cover it with the cling-film and then leave it somewhere draught-free to rise until it has doubled in size, this should take about an hour.
Whilst the dough is doing its thing you can make the filling. Use a pestle and mortar to crack open the cardamom pods, remove the black seeds and discard the husks. Crush the seeds and coarsely grind them. Cream together the butter, sugar and spice to make a nice soft paste. Take the dough out of the bowl and pop it on a lightly floured surface. Give it a quick knead to knock some of the air out of it. Divide it into two even pieces. Roll each one out into a rectangle, about 14″x 10″. With the long edge facing you spread the filling over the lower half of each piece of dough before folding the top down to cover it. Press the edges to seal it and give it another quick roll. Cut each rectangle into six even pieces, slicing from top to bottom, then take each piece and cut it in half vertically stopping just short of the top so that the two strips remain joined. Twist the strips around each other and then into a knot, tucking the ends underneath. Place them on a lightly greased baking tray, spacing them well apart. I used two trays and put six on each. Lightly cover the buns and leave them to rise again for another hour.
Pre-heat your oven to 180°c. Once the buns have puffed up and risen, uncover them and brush them with a little milk before sprinkling on some pearled sugar (or Demerara) and bake them for 20-25 minutes, until they have a soft crust and are golden brown.
You just can’t go wrong with a Chelsea bun. Soft enriched dough crammed full of rich, sweet fillings and covered in finger-licking sticky glaze. Always a winner! I love these warm for wintry breakfasts or with a cup of piping hot tea on a chilly […]
I’ve made this a few times now and it always gets a really warm welcome at the table. It’s what autumn puddings should be, rich and warming and packed with flavourful spices. The sponge is wonderfully light with a gloriously sticky crust, the pears are soft and fruity and there are occasional fiery little nuggets of stem ginger, just to keep things interesting. I like this best served warm, five or ten minutes after it’s come out of the oven (so you don’t burn your mouth on the pears) but it’s also delicious served cold and keeps for several days because the sponge is so moist.
serves 6 generously
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp very hot water
65g soft dark brown sugar
pich of salt
90g golden syrup
50ml warm milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
140g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground allspice
2 pieces of stem ginger
1 tin of pear halves, drained (you can use fresh if you prefer but you’ll need to poach them first)
Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and grease and line a springform baking tin. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the hot water and set it aside.
Cream together the butter, salt and sugar until it is nice and fluffy and then beat in the syrup and egg. Stir in the milk, vanilla and bicarbonate of soda mixture. Sift together the flour, baking powder and spices to ensure that they are well blended and then briefly beat this into the wet mixture. Finely chop the stem ginger and fold it through the batter.
Pour the sponge mixture into the prepared tin. Arrange the pears on top and push them into the batter a little. Bake the cake for 45 minutes, covering the top with some foil if it starts to get a bit too brown in the last 15 minutes or so. Once the cake is done it should have risen up nicely around the pears and feel springy to the touch.
Serve warm with cream, ice cream or custard.
Before I lived in the States I only ever really thought of tacos as the hard, crunchy shells you buy from the supermarket and fill with chilli and cheese. I was utterly oblivious to the world of deliciousness which ‘proper’ tacos provide, there are so […]