Leila Lindholm’s Classic Swedish Cinnamon & Cardamom Buns
Author Notes: What has made Leila such a famous name in Sweden is her dedication to the traditional food of the country. Though she has explored foods from all corners of the globe (she was preparing for a visit to Morocco as we spoke), a passion for Swedish home cooking is at the core of what she does.
Through giant mouthfuls of cinnamon bun, we ask Leila her trick for making them so perfect: "A lot of cardamom is an absolute must for me. And I take them out of the oven before they are fully baked, so they are very soft.”
Makes approximately 18 buns
For the dough:
- 1 tablespoon cardamom pods
- 300 milliliters (1/2 pint) milk
- 135 grams superfine sugar
- 7 grams (1 packet) fast-action dried yeast
- 150 grams unsalted butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 660 to 720 grams bread flour
For the cinnamon filling:
- 200 grams unsalted butter, softed
- 90 grams superfine sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Beaten egg, for brushing
- Golden syrup and water, for brushing
- Ground cardadmom, for sprinkling
- Superfine sugar, for sprinkling
- Open the cardamom pods and crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle or electric spice grinder until fine.
- Pour the milk into a pan. Add the cardamom and gently heat until around 115° F (45° C).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, briefly mix sugar, yeast, salt, butter, and egg. Don't worry if the butter is still a bit lumpy.
- Add the milk and cardamom, mix briefly, and add most of the flour.
- In a stand mixer, use the dough hook and knead for a few minutes, until the dough is glossy, smooth, and soft. (Alternatively, knead by hand for 5 minutes.) The dough should be a little sticky: Don’t add too much flour at once, as you don’t want to end up with a dry or hard dough.
- Cover the bowl with the tea-towel and leave the dough to proof until doubled in size.
- In the meantime, make the filling: Mix all three ingredients until well combined and smooth.
- Once the dough is well risen, tip it onto a floured work surface and divide it in two.
- Roll half the dough into a large rectangle and spread half the filling on top, covering the whole rectangle.
- Fold the dough into three like a business letter (fold the top long side down to the middle, then fold the bottom long side over the top).
- Cut the dough into 3/4-inch (2-centimeter) strips, then cut every strip down the middle, leaving one end intact (so they look like a pair of trousers). Twist the two "legs” into a knot (this does not have to be very precise, you can go a bit freeform).
- Place the buns on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and leave to rise until almost doubled in size, about 40 minutes. Repeat with the other half of the dough and filling.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F (200° C). Brush the buns with lightly beaten egg and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden.
- Brush the still-warm buns with golden syrup mixed with water and sprinkle with ground cardamom mixed with superfine sugar.