Fika is a social institution in Sweden that essentially means having a break with one’s colleagues, friends or family and no one pastry or baked treat says fika time as much as a cinnamon flavoured
bun, paired here with a touch of aromatic cardamom. Think
of that gorgeous warmly spicy scent spreading throughout your home
while the buns are baking in the oven, and you’ll soon understand
why Swedes have an almost sacred relationship with cinnamon.
Makes: 10 buns
sunflower oil, for oiling
300ml (10fl oz/½ pint) milk
1 teaspoon ground cardamom 50g (1¾oz) butter
425g (15oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
7g (¹/³oz) packet fast-action dried yeast
50g (1¾oz) caster sugar
½ teaspoon fine salt 1 egg, lightly beaten
For the filling:
75g (2¾oz) butter, softened 50g (1¾oz) light brown
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon fine salt
For the glaze:
1 egg, lightly beaten
pearl or demerara sugar, for sprinkling
Lightly oil a large baking sheet, or 9 pie tins about 8cm (3¼ inches) in diameter.
Put the milk in a small saucepan, add the cardamom and bring to just below boiling point.
Turn off the heat, stir in the butter until melted and leave the mixture to stand until it is just warm. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the egg, then stir in the warm milk mixture. Gradually mix until well combined and a soft sticky dough forms that comes away from the side of the bowl.
Turn the dough out on to a lightly oiled work surface (don’t flour it) and knead by hand for 5 minutes. The dough will be very soft and sticky at first, but will become less sticky with kneading. Alternatively, use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Lightly oil a bowl and add the dough. Cover with clingfilm or a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 30–60 minutes or until doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, make the filling. Beat all the ingredients together in a separate bowl until soft and easily spreadable.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle measuring about 35 x 25cm (14 x 10 inches) and 3mm (¹/8 inch) thick. Spread the cinnamon filling over the dough and, starting from one of the long edges, roll the dough up tightly like a Swiss roll, ending with the seam underneath. Cut into 10 slices around 2.5cm (1 inch) thick.
Place on the baking sheet, leaving a small space between them, or in the individual tins or sections, and then cover and leave to prove in a warm place for about 30 minutes until the dough springs back when prodded gently.
For the glaze, brush the buns with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the sugar. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6.
Bake the buns for 20–25 minutes until golden brown. Turn out on to a wire rack to cool for a while – delicious served warm.