Swedish Cardamom Buns

 

If your first thoughts were: “this looks complicated”, then think again. Because once you read through the step by step guide below, you will be tying knots (albeit the dough kind) like a sailor. They are so much fun to make!

This recipe reminds me of the brioche loaves I made last year because of the light buttery texture of the bread. These buns take less than half the time it takes to make brioche and has a lot more flavour: I brought them into the office the next day and before I got back to my seat they were all gone!

Not all recipes use egg but I find adding it here helps give the dough a soft, cakey like texture that you expect from a cinnamon roll. I love the generous use of cardamom, one of my favourite spices. It was back breaking having to grind it by hand in a mortar and pestle; very few places sell the seeds grounded. Be generous with the spice measurements, about 1/4 of it will melt away in the baking process anyway.

And yes I have to admit I played around with the recipe – I added orange rind, nutmeg and almond essence to the mix. This is all optional.

Bon appetit!

 

Swedish Cardamom Buns

INGREDIENTS

CARDAMOM DOUGH

  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp. (250 ml) milk, lukewarm temprature
  • 1 envelope dry active yeast (7 g)
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond essence
  • 1/3 cup (67 g) light brown sugar
  • 3 1/4 cup (406 g) all-purpose flour, plus more to flour surfaces
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 5 Tbsp. (75 g) butter (at room temperature)
  • Oil/cooking spray (to grease bowl)

 

CARDAMOM FILLING

  • 4-5 Tbsp. (about 63 g) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup (65 g) dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. ground cardamom seeds
  • 3 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp freshly grated orange rind
  • 1 tsp almond essence

 

CARDAMOM GLAZE

  • 1 egg – whisked

 

CARDAMOM DOUGH

  1. Pre-grease/oil a large bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, add yeast to the lukewarm milk with 1 tsp. light brown sugar and stir until yeast has dissolved. Let activate for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, grind/crush cardamom seeds with spice grinder or mortar and pestle. In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, mix together flour, light brown sugar (less 1 tsp.), cardamom, and salt.
  4. Change the attachment to the dough hook attachment.
  5. After yeast has been activated, add almond essence to your yeast/milk mixture, then add to the flour mixture and mix on low until dough begins to come together. Increase speed to medium-low and add cubed butter in handfuls. Once all the butter has been added, increase speed to medium/medium-high and knead for about 5 minutes. You want this to be a fairly loose dough, so whatever you do, don’t over knead.
  6. Scrape dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a bun, tucking the edges toward the centre.  Place in your greased bowl, seam side down and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Place bowl in a warm place and let it rise for at least 40 minutes.

 

CARDAMOM FILLING

  1. In the bowl combine butter, dark brown sugar, and freshly ground/crushed cardamom seeds and the remaining spices until creamy and smooth.

 

FORMING

  1. Line baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. Roll out dough into a 13” x 21” rectangle on a lightly floured surface.
  3. Spread filling onto the rolled out dough rectangle with a spatula so that it covers the entire area from edge to edge.

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  1. Mark 7″ sections on the 21″ side with the back of a knife so that you have three equal sections. Fold left side to the middle, than fold the right side over the left side. Turn the dough so that the openings are on the left and right sides and roll out the dough slightly.

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  1. Using your ruler and sharp knife or pastry wheel, cut 2 cm strands. You should have 15-20 strands.

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  1. Starting from the end, wrap one strand around the tips of your thumb and four fingers (three if you have big hands) twice, twisting slightly as you wrap, then slip your thumb out of the roll, loop the strand around one last time then tuck the end and your thumb loop into the bottom. If you’re having trouble, please re-watch this link. Repeat with all strands.
  2. Place buns on your pre-lined baking sheets, (giving enough room for dough to rise and spread during proofing and baking), cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for about 30 minutes.

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  1. While proofing, preheat oven to 435°F (at least 30 minutes before baking)

 

BAKE

  1. Brush the surface of each bun with the whisked egg
  2. Bake proofed rolls for 7-8 minutes or until tops are golden brown
  1. When they have cooled down completely, you add a dollop of orange infused cream cheese, (a mixure of orange peel, juice, icing sugar and cream cheese) to each bun.
  2. Serve and enjoy!!

 

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Soup

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So this is how you make effortless, tasty and satisfying soup in minutes. Soup doesn’t have to be complicated nor does it need a whole bunch of ingredients to leave your mouth watering for more. I grew up using yellow or red split peas as a base for thick soups. But as the split peas release no flavour of their own, I found myself adding tons of ingredients, and root vegetables which meant more time in the kitchen and less time doing the other things I enjoyed doing.

This soup however is complete in 3 easy steps: roast, blend, boil.

And if you have any left over, it could work as a good based for a pasta dish or stew. The dense sweet nutty flavour of this variety of pumpkin (normally sold in caribbean markets) when roasted needs very little to enhance its flavour more. You can add more or less water to achieve the consistency you want. I think you’re going to really like this one…;-)

Roasted Pumpkin and Garlic Soup

Ingredients:

600g Raw Pumpkin (leave skin on)

Half White Onion

Half Garlic Head (sliced down centre)

Drizzle of Olive Oil

4-5 Sprigs Fresh Thyme

1 Scotch Bonnet

1/2 vegetable stock cube

1 tsp garlic/ ginger paste

Salt/ pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups water

Method:

Pre-heat oven to Gas Mark 8

Place Pumpkin, onion and garlic into a roasting tin and drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. Remove any excess skin from the onion and garlic to reduce burning.

Place in oven for 23-30 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender

Remove the tin from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before scooping the pumpkin flesh, squeezing the garlic bulbs out of its shell and removing the outer skin from the now caramelised onion.

Transfer to a large pot with the remaining ingredients on the list. Boil for 5-6 minutes gently breaking up the vegetables.

Then allow it to cool for 10 minutes before transferring all the ingredients (except the thyme and pepper) into a blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and continue boiling for 5 minutes, season to taste and serve!

Pecan Caramel Monkey Bread

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The moment you slowly remove the bundt pan from this bread. Its like watching a child open a birthday present, in small motion and to find that it was exactly what they had hoped and wished for.

This was my experience unravelling the monkey bread. I had searched high and low for the recipe that reflected the image in my head of how this was all going to turn out, but nothing met my credentials. So I took a few ideas from here and there and put together a recipe which tastes so good! I wish you could hear me say this out loud…it is unbelievably good, the whole process of making this bread really therapeutic, I don’t know why. The process and ingredients are very similar to that of Brioche, so I felt a lot more confident putting it together. Not all monkey breads require eggs, but I wanted to the rich texture of the brioche in this one and it paid off so well.

A couple of tips: be generous with the caramel. If you find you need to make more, do so. Secondly don’t fill the bundt pan to the brim with these dough balls. Remember the dough still have to prove after you have formed it in the pan, I found during that time the mixture expanded so much that when it reached the oven, some of the balls dropped off like cinnamon golf balls! Pleasant to my quick fingers…not so good a look when your bread has holes in it!

This bread is made for sharing and makes sharing fun. I’ll let you know how my colleagues at work get on with this one tomorrow!

 

Pecan Caramel Monkey Bread

  • Servings: as many as you like!
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For the Dough

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water (room temperature)

1-1/4 cups warm 2% milk (room temperature)

1/3 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

5 cups Canadian Strong Bread Flour

 

For the Caramel

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp almond essence

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

 

For the Dough Balls

3/4 cup chopped pecans

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup butter, melted

 

Method

The night before

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, butter, sugar, eggs, salt and 3 cups of flour. Beat on the medium speed (with a dough hook) for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough.IMG_7401

Keep ‘kneading’ in the food mixer until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Or turn the mixture on to a floured surface and knead by hand for the same amount of time.

Place in a greased bowl or container. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

 

 

The next day

The next day, take the dough of the fridge and leave it for 1 hour to get to room temperature.

For the caramel, in a saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter and cream to a boil. Cook and stir for 3 minutes. Pour half into the bundt pan; sprinkle with half of the pecans.
Punch the dough down and cut it into long strips, then cut it again into 2″ squares.  Shape each square into 40 -50 balls

Then take two bowls: in one combine white sugar and cinnamon in another melted butter. Dip the dough balls in butter, then roll in sugar mixture.

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Place balls in the pan one by one; top with remaining caramel and pecans, only fill to 3/4 of the pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, in a warm place for about 45 minutes.

Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool for 10 minutes before turning it into a serving plate. Serve warm.

 

 

 

 

Blueberry Scones

IMG_6458I was hunting around as I usually do, looking for something different to do with Blueberries. I normally throw them into smoothies, and I remember once making a blueberry drink for a friend’s dinner. And now come to think of it I also made a blueberry sauce to go with some quick pancakes when my Uncle came down to spend some time with us (you know those pancakes you make and they turn out so nice…but you can’t remember how you did it? It was one of those days).  Ok so I’ve kind of lost the argument: I have done a few things with Blueberries, but I have to say these scones excite me the most. Not only are they really quick and simple to make but extremely tasty!  To speed up the process, this can be made in a food mixer.

Blueberry Scones

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 stick cold unsalted butter, grated
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
extra heavy cream for brushing the tops
raw sugar for sprinkling the tops
Method

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl  mix 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, the baking powder, orange zest, and salt. Then add the cold butter and mix well. In another bowl, combine the egg, vanilla and heavy cream and whisk well.  Slowly pour cream into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until you see no more lumps.  Now add the blueberries to the dough, together. You might want to use your hands it this point to avoid the berries bursting prematurely.

Spoon out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball.  Then with a rolling pin roll the dough about 3/4-inch thick into a circle shape.

Cut the dough into quarters then cut again into eighths, diagonally, making triangles.

Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream, sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch.

Adapted from recipe by La Petite Brioche

Authentic Brioche

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Brioche can be enjoyed any day of the week. But it tastes so much better freshly baked on a Sunday morning. While the loaves were baking in the oven, their buttery scent has a way of drifting upstairs and filling the house with warmth. So nice! I wanted to bake this bread weeks ago but time wouldn’t allow me to do it. Brioche demands patience. People often ask me how do I find the time to cook/ bake ? The simply response is day and night: first thing in the morning, last thing at night. So for the Brioche and Jelly this is how I squeezed it in: I got home late Saturday evening and mixed the dough as it needs a good 7 hours or more to rest.

Then I woke up early this morning after spending a few moments connecting with my Creator; and took the dough out the fridge for an hour for it to get to room temperature. I shaped the dough and then went to the park and did an hour run (as I knew the dough would need at least 3 hours to rise).

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When I came back I started on the grape jelly. Then I did some domestic tasks and  returned to the kitchen to put the loaves in the oven.  At the end of the day you just have to maximise the time that you have. And in the end the reward is great: crusty buttery bread with a fluffy texture served with sweet black grape jelly and spicy hot chocolate. Now to the park to catch up on some reading…

Recipe taken from How to Bake by Paul Hollywood published by Bloomsbury.

Brioche

  • Servings: Makes 2 medium loaves
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting 7g salt

50g caster sugar

10g instant yeast

140ml warm full-fatmilk

5 medium eggs

250g unsalted butter,softened, plus extra for greasing

1. Put the flour into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the milk and eggs and mix on a slow speed for 2 minutes, then on a medium speed for a further 6–8 minutes, until you have a soft, glossy, elastic dough. Add the softened butter and continue to mix for a further 4–5 minutes, scraping down the bowl periodically to ensure that the butter is thoroughly incorporated. The dough should be very soft.

2. Tip the dough into a plastic bowl, cover and chill overnight or for at least 7 hours, until it is firm and you are able to shape it.

3. Grease two loaf tins.

4. Take your brioche dough from the fridge and tip it onto a lightly floured surface and fold it in on itself a few times to knock out the air. Divide it into 2 equal pieces. Then divide each piece into three more pieces.

Take each piece of dough and roll into 12″ tubes. With three on the tubes, start plaiting the dough starting from the centre working your way to the end, sealing the end. When you have plaited one side, flip the plait over and plait the other side to the end. Then moisten along one side of the plait with water and join the ends together.

Then place the folded plait into the loaf tin. Repeat the process again with the other piece of dough.

5. Cover the loaf tins with a clean plastic bag and leave to prove for 2–3 hours, or until the dough has risen to just above the rim of the tin.

6. Heat your oven to 190 c (gas mark 4-5)

7. When the brioche is proved, bake for 20–30 minutes (in the middle shelf) or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Bear in mind that the sugar and butter in the dough will make it take on colour before it is actually fully baked. Remove the brioche from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

 

Copyright © Ranette Prime and Love Loretta’s Kitchen, 2014. All rights reserved.

Quick Black Grape Jelly

 

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So simple and sweet.Serve with homemade Brioche. The same recipe can be used for Blueberries, Strawberries or Blackberries. The options are endless!

Black Grape Jelly

  • Servings: 20
  • Difficulty: easy
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1kg black grapes, preferable with seeds (stripped from the stalks)
350g jam sugar (with added pectin)
juice 1/2 lemon

Utensils: wooden spoon, a sieve and sterilised jam jar.

Place the grapes into a large saucepan over a low heat, then cover and leave to cook for 5 mins or until the grapes start to disintegrate. Take a potato masher or fork and mash-up the grapes to extract more of the juice.

Leave to cook for about 10 mins more, mashing every now and again until the grapes are falling apart.IMG_7059

Take a sieve over a bowl and pour the grapes into the sieve, help extract the pulp from the skin by gently pushing the grapes through the sieve, you should be left with a thick liquid in the bowl (about 2-300ml).

Then pour it into a pan along with the sugar and lemon juice. Set the pan over a high heat and bring to the boil. Let the mixture bubble for 5-6 mins.

To test it to see if it’s ready, place  a small plate in the freezer for 5 mins, take it out and then pour a little of the juice onto the cold plate.

After 1 min, run your finger through; if the jam wrinkles slightly, it’s ready. Pour the hot jam into a sterilised jar. Will keep unopened for up to 3 months.

Red Onion Fougasse Bread

IMG_4167This flat, round fougasse loaf is very popular all over France and is a very similar to the Italian focaccia. Here I decided to make a mustard/ garlic butter which I brushed over the bread once baked, if I’m honest I was trying to mimic the fougasse garlic bread I love so much which is served at the restaurant Cafe Rouge, which came drenched in this garlic butter sauce which tasted like none other.

But I digress, this bread is as enjoyable and fun to share and tear over some soup! I strongly recommend using a strong white bread flour for this recipe, it will make such a big difference to the to the texture: the bread turned out really nice and fluffy on the inside and with a light crust.

I also found it expanded in size quite a bit, so make sure you leave a lot of space in the pan between breads. This recipe is adapted from the BBC Good Food website if you want to see other versions of the bread.

 

Red Onion Fougasse Bread

  • Servings: Makes 3 large loaves
  • Difficulty: medium
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1 red onion – finely sliced

1 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra

coarse sea salt

For the Dough

7g sachet easy-blend yeast or 15g fresh yeast

500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp olive oil

For the Garlic Butter

3 garlic cloves, minced

50g butter

1 tsp english mustard

few fresh thyme sprigs – chopped

Tip the flour into a mixing bowl. For easy-blend dried yeast, stir this into the flour. For fresh yeast, crumble it and rub into the flour as you would with butter when making pastry. Add the salt and sugar. Boil the kettle and measure 100ml into a jug. Top up with cold water to the 300ml mark. Test the temperature with your finger – it should feel perfectly hand-hot. Add the oil. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid all at once. Mix quickly using your hands or a wooden fork to make a soft and slightly sticky dough. Wipe the dough around the bowl to pick up any loose flour. Sprinkle the work surface with flour and tip out the dough.IMG_4159

Knead by stretching it away from you, then folding it in half towards you and pushing it away with the heel of your hand. Give it a quarter turn and repeat, developing a rhythm.

When the dough is smooth, put it back into the mixing bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for 1 hr (no need to find a warm place). The dough is ready when it springs back when you press it with your finger. Thinly slice the onion and gently cook in the oil until softened, about 5 mins. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and lightly knead in the onion. IMG_4161

Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half. Roll or press out one piece of dough to a rectangular shape about 20 x 25cm, then transfer to a baking sheet lined with non-stick paper.

Make a large diagonal cut across the centre of the dough almost to the ends. Make three smaller diagonal cuts either side of the large cut to make a leaf shape.

Then with your fingers, gently pull the bread where you have made the slits creating an inch gap. The bread should resemble branches at this point (see baked image above)

Repeat with the other piece of dough. then sprinkle with a little flour and sea salt.

IMG_4172Heat oven to 240C/220C fan/gas 8. Leave the loaves to prove for 20 mins then bake for 13-15 mins until golden.

In the meantime melt the ingredients for the garlic butter in a pan gently.

When the loaves leave the oven, brush them with the butter a few times over and then leave to cool.