Korvapuusti, a set on Flickr.
Weekend baking: The whole kitchen is engulfed in the warm cardamom and cinnamon-sugar smell of these buttery Finnish “Slap on the ear” buns. They are absolute beauties and a great Sunday breakfast treat or nice with your afternoon coffee and tea. The intensively fragrant and aromatic tasting cardamom is ubiquitous in festive Skandinavian baking and an integral part of any traditional Christmas spice mix. Hardly known is though that it is the third most expensive spice in the world after saffron and vanilla.
My favourite recipe for Korvapuusti is from Miranda Gardiner’s whimsical, charming and heart-warming cookbook. It manages to evoke the sublimeness of summerhouse living in Moomin country (Finnland) and makes me long for the coast of the British West Country at the same time.
adapted from Miranda Gardiner: Teaching Dad to cook flapjacks. I added the american cup measurements and a slight change to the method. Makes 23.
650g (5 cups + 1 heaped tablespoon) plain flour
1 sachet (7g or 2 teaspoons) dried yeast
250ml (about 1 cup) luke warm milk
100g (a little under 1/3 cup) caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cardamom (I prefer it freshly ground from about two handfull of green cardamom pods)
125g (1 stick + 2 teaspoons) soft butter
80g (1/3 cup) very soft butter
50g (¼ cup) caster sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
egg wash: 1 egg, lightly beaten with a tablespoon of water
pearl sugar (german: Hagelzucker)
Measure roughly half of the flour in a bowl and mix with the yeast. In another bowl combine milk, sugar, salt, cardamom & the egg. Add the soft butter and then stir in the flour with a sturdy wooden spoon until all is combined. Start to work in some of the other flour using only as much as you need to get a soft dough that does not stick to your fingers anymore. Keep the rest of the flour for later kneading. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth or cling film and prove the dough in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Knead the dough on a floured board for about 5 minutes, pushing the dough ball with the heel of the hand away from you. Cut it in two halves and roll them out one after the other into a rectangle (half a square). Spread half of the soft butter on it and cover with half of the sugar-cinnamon. Start to roll up the sheet from into a tight log. Beginning at one end cut of small triangular pieces. Stand these pyramid shapes upright and lightly press the top down so you see the snail (ear) pattern on both sides. Leave the buns to rest for another 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 200°C (395°F) or 180°C fan oven. I have a large oven and my 23 pieces just fit onto one sheet, if you have a different oven you might need two sheets. Brush each bun with the egg wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake the pastries on the middle shelf for 10-15 minutes (mine took 15 minutes and I turned the sheet around after half the time). Leave to cool on a wire rack.