Makes 20 buns
Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson includes many different recipes and variations for buns in his new book, “The Nordic Baking Book.” Not as sweet or huge as American versions, this adaptation of his recipe includes a cardamom-infused dough created by his wife, Tove, and the traditional Swedish topping of pearl sugar rather than icing. Nilsson recommends baking the buns in cupcake liners to prevent the filling from leaking out. Using a digital scale will make it easier to measure the ingredients. The recipe takes about 2½ hours to complete.
- 1¼ cups + 1 tablespoon (320 ml) milk
- ½ cup + 2½ tablespoons (150 g) butter
- 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
- 2 ounces (50 g) fresh yeast, or about ¾ ounce active dry yeast (check package for equivalent to fresh)
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (125 g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5½ cups strong wheat flour (750 g), plus extra for dusting
- 7 ounces (200 g) very soft unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1½ tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons pearl sugar
To make the dough: Combine the milk, butter and cardamom in a small pan and heat until the butter has melted. Let cool to just above room temperature if using fresh yeast (or to 110 to 115 degrees F for active dry yeast). Dissolve the yeast into the milk.
Transfer the mix to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the egg, sugar, salt and flour and knead until very smooth, shiny and elastic and the dough comes clean off the sides of the bowl, for about 10 minutes. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and leave to rise until doubled in size, 30 to 40 minutes.
To make the buns: Gather the dough in a ball and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a 24-by-16 inch rectangle.
Use an offset spatula to spread on an even layer of the butter, leaving a 1½-inch clean border along the long edge that is farthest away from you. Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar all over the butter. Starting at the long edge closest to you, roll the dough up into a tight log, finishing with the unbuttered edge underneath.
With a very sharp knife, cut the log into 20 slices less than 1¼ inches (3 cm) wide. Lift each slice into a cupcake liner and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch around each bun. Cover with a clean dish towel and leave to rise until doubled in size, for about 25 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine the egg and milk in a medium bowl and whisk until no lumps of egg remain. Brush the buns very lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with the pearl sugar. Bake until golden and set in the middle, 20 to 25 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool on wire racks. Best eaten the day of baking.