I just adore cardamom, from its sweet heady aroma to the gentle aromatic taste it gives to both sweet and savoury foods. It is a very well used spice in my kitchen.
Cardamom is one of the world’s very ancient spices. It is native to the East originating in the forests of the western ghats in southern India, where it grows wild. Today it also grows in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Indo China and Tanzania. The ancient Egyptians chewed cardamom seeds as a tooth cleaner; the Greeks and Romans used it as a perfume. Vikings came upon cardamom about one thousand years ago, in Constantinople, and introduced it into Scandinavia, where it remains popular to this day.
It is the direction of Scandinavia in which I’m heading with todays blog post, in particular Sweden. I travelled there with the help of Leila Lindholm’s new book A Piece of Cake. A Piece of Cake is a lovely book, with many variations on cakes, cupcakes and general yumminess! There are – as I hoped for – a good peppering of Swedish recipes including a Tosca Cake, Cardamom Buns and Swedish Crisp breads; it is a very well laid and out and beautifully presented book too.
My first delve into baking from this glorious book just had to be the Cardamom Buns – not only do I love cardamom but I love sweet yeast bakery; as the recipe involves both these elements how could I resist?
The recipe was straightforward enough, a little messy at times, but easy enough to follow. I have to admit I was a bit dubious about how they would turn out as the filling didn’t really seem to be an enclosed filling (maybe that’s just my poor technique) and I was worried they buns would just be an ugly, soggy mess. The pre-baking image did not inspire confidence.
I was wrong to doubt myself though as the resulting baked buns were scrumptious, moist and flavoursome as Leila promised in her recipe intro.
Sticky, gooey, chewy, buttery bites of cardamom heaven; just perfect with a cup of strong black coffee (especially for a naughty, indulgent breakfast). They weren’t overly sweet though, which was a bit of a shock really, I expected tooth-aching sweetness due to all the sugar in the dough and filling but again Leila proved me wrong.
Will these be repeated? Just try and stop me! My only hope is that next time they’re a bit neater.