These sweet, buttery and tasty cardamom buns are to die for. They take a bit of time but are completely worth the effort.
The first time I ever tried a cardamom bun was during my PhD where a Swedish postdoctoral Scientist in our department baked some and brought them in. I was so impressed by them and they were so damn tasty. I never really knew that cardamom could be added to something sweet, I had always associated the spice with savoury curries.
Since that first try, I have been hooked. I’m not normally a huge pastry lover but this buttery bread dough with butter and cardamom spice is just so good. Over the years I have got my cardamom fix from a local East London bakery that even included a cardamom custard which was just divine. I finally gave them a go a few months ago and have made them a more few times and honestly think homemade buns are the way to go! They are fresher and softer, so just give them a go.
I would not classify this as a hard bake but it does take some time due to the 2 dough proving steps. The only bit I found a bit tough was getting the twist right for the knots but that will come with more practice.
Cardamom bun recipe
I halved the recipe from BBC Good food.
Makes 6 buns
17 Cardamom pods
175 ml Full fat milk
100 g Unsalted butter, cubed
250 g Strong white bread flour, (plus extra for dusting)
113 g Golden caster sugar
4g Fast-action dried yeast
1/4 tsp Ground cinnamon
Vegetable oil or sunflower oil, for greasing
1 Large egg, beaten
2 tbsp pearl sugar (I did not use any)
STEP 1: Make the dough
Use a pestle and mortar to open up 5 cardamom pods
Add to a saucepan, then pour in the milk and warm it up until it is steaming but not boiling
Add 25 g of butter and swirl the pan to help the butter melt
Leave this buttery milk mix to cool to room temperature
In a large bowl, add the flour, 75 g of sugar, the yeast, sugar and 1/2 tsp or salt.
Add the cooled milk to the large bowl and mix to form a dough.
Knead the dough on a slightly floured surface for 10 mins (really do 10 mins). You want the dough to be soft and stretchy. You will notice the change as you continue working the dough.
Add the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel or cling film at room temperature for 2 hours. TIP: You can leave it in the fridge to rise overnight
STEP 2: Make the filling
Bash open the left over cardamom pods in the pestle mortar.
Remove the outer shell and put the seeds back into the pestle and mortar and grind it down to a powder.
Combine the cardamom powder with the sugar, then add this cardamom sugar (apart from 1 tbsp which we will save for later) with the leftover room temperature butter.
STEP 3: Make those buns!
Line a baking tray with baking paper
Punch down the dough which should have doubled in size
Roll into a rectangle around 35 x 45 cm.
Spread the filling on the rolled out dough, making sure you get right to the edges. TIP: You might not need all the filling.
Fold the dough from the top shorter side of the rectangle towards the centre, then the bottom shorter side above the first two sections so it resembles an envelope and you have 3 layers.
Cut into 12 equal sized strips and fold into a twisted knot (see the video for help).
Cover with oiled cling film for 30 mins - 1 hour for a second proof (you want them to double in size)
Preheat the oven to 190C/ 170C fan/ Gas mark 5.
Egg wash the pastries with a beaten egg, sprinkle with Pearl sugar if you have it (I never have it).
STEP 4: Bake
Bake for 20-25 mins or until they are a lovely golden brown.
Add the cardamom sugar to a pan along with 25 ml of water. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and leave aside to cool and swirl until the sugar is dissolved.
Brush the syrup to the top of the baked buns while they are still warm. Repaet 1-2 times as they cool. Wait around 20 mins before tucking in!
STEP 5: Storage
Store in an airtight container
Freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost at room temperature first and reheat in the oven for 5 mins before eating.
Honestly these buns are amazing and so much better than the bakery. They are not that easy to find so making them at home makes them so much more accessible. Enjoy with a cuppa and be happy!