Do you know that it’s National Swedish Cinnamon Bun Day today? Cinnamon Buns. Just saying that evokes all sorts of food imaginings! Cinnamoney, sticky and sweet. Can anyone pass up Cinnamon Buns? I don’t think so. And you shouldn’t deprive yourself. Cinnamon buns just makes everything right, makes you feel better and comforted. So why not have a day dedicated to such a delight.
Recently my young adult children traveled to Scandinavia and on their return sang the praises of Swedish fika. Fika, they told me, is a coffee break but more than a coffee break and everyone in Sweden does it. Further more, they thought that everyone should fika. (Interestingly, the word fika is a noun but is also a verb) I spoke about fika when I gave you the recipe for Swedish Almond Tarts. I love that the Swedish not only fika everyday but celebrate their favourite baked goodie – cinnamon buns. I’m just wondering what food Australians would celebrate in that way? Meat pies? Lamingtons? I just am not sure that we are that passionate about one thing.
This delicious recipe comes from my friend Greg Patent, published in his book A Baker’s Odyssey. Originally baked by the Pennsylvanian Dutch, it doesn’t have the icing that is so common on cinnamon buns. Instead they are baked with a gooey caramel underneath that becomes a topping when the buns are inverted onto the serving tray. That’s when the oozy caramel drips temptingly down the sides.
All the goodness is hidden under the buns so when they emerge from the oven they are a little bit of an ugly duckling. But flip this baby over and….
…don’t you want to just fall into that! Do yourself a favour and bake these today. It’s Cinnamon Bun Day after all.
A traditional cinnamon bun with oozey caramel topping
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 warm water
- 1 package 2 1/4 teaspoons dried active yeast
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups plain flour
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 60 grams unsalted butter very soft
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 45 grams unsalted butter melted or very soft
- 1/2 cup raisins or currants
- 85 grams unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoon light flavoured honey
- 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans coarsely chopped
In a small bowl mix warm water with yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes or until frothy.
In the meantime heat the milk until scalded - you will see steam rising from the surface. Remove from the heat and add the remaining sugar and salt. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Cool until milk is just warm on your fingertips.
In a stand mixer ( or you can do this by hand ) put 2 3/4 cups flour into the bowl along with the milk, yeast, egg and butter. Mix with the flat beat until combined. Attach the dough hook and knead on low for 3 to 5 minutes. The dough should gather into a ball and be soft, smooth and supple. Remove dough from the bowl and knead in the remaining 1/4 flour on your work surface. Clean out the bowl, lightly coat it with cooking spray or butter. Shape the dough into a ball and place into oiled bowl. Turn it so that it is coated all over.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to prove in a warm place for 1 1/2 hour or until doubled.
Remove the dough from the bowl onto work surface. Flatten it into a rough rectangle. Fold it like a business letter. Then flatten again and repeat. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour.
Butter the side only of a 33cm x 22cm x 5cm (13in x 9in x 2in) baking pan.
Stir together sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. The remaining ingredients will be used later
Melt the butter over low heat then stir in brown sugar and honey. Stir until sauce is smooth. Scrape this into the prepared pan and spread evenly. It will be thin. Sprinkle with walnuts or pecans.
Very lightly dust your work surface with flour. Turn out the dough onto the work surface and roll into 38cm x 30cm (15in x 12in) rectangle. Have the longest side nearest you. Spread with the soft butter leaving a boarder at the far edge. Sprinkle with raisins or currants, followed by cinnamon sugar. Place a piece of baking paper over the dough and press to embed the fruit into the dough. Remove the paper and roll up the dough starting from the long edge nearest you. Pinch the edges to seal. Turn the seam side down and evenly cut the dough into 15 pieces. Arrange the slices cut side up onto the topping. You should have 3 rows of 5. Cover loosely with a clean tea towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F.
Uncover the rolls and place the baking pan into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of the pan to release the buns then place a tray over the pan. Invert the buns onto the tray. Wait a minute or so to allow the buns to unstick. If any topping remains in the baking pan, don't waste it, scrape it onto the buns or into your mouth - careful it's hot. Then dive right in!