I loved staying with my Granny, It meant hours of freedom charging around the woods and fields and plenty of cake. Wednesdays were both the best and worst days, because Wednesday was Bridge day. I’d have to sit on the sofa, silently, as they played hand after hand of cards, best friends calling each other “Partner” whilst I wrigglingly read a book. But there was always the coffee break. Although it was Grandpa who was Swedish, my Granny embraced Fika, wholeheartedly, particularly the seven options of goodies to eat.
Fika or coffee time is a very important part of Swedish Life. It’s not just about sitting drinking coffee and eating cake, but about a state of mind, taking time out, relaxing and chatting with your friends or family. Fika can happen at any time of day and also several times a day. The important thing is to wind down whether you’re taking 10 minutes or two hours. When my Granny and Granpa first married, Fika would have involved seven kinds of homemade cakes, biscuits.and open sandwiches. A mountain of work for each social occasion. By the time I was reluctantly sitting on the sofa, she was buying most of her fika, but there was still a selection of seven treats to choose from as all the ladies stopped play for Fika and I was allowed to join in. This orange cardamom bread would be the centre piece of my Fika spread, gently spiced with cardamom and a fragrant orange and almond filling.
Rolled sweet breads and buns are very Scandinavian, I’ve cooked this one traditionally as a wreath, which would be perfect for christmas but you can bake it as a log. You still need to make the scissor cuts in order to have separate buns and for it to bake and caramelise evenly.
The cardamom speckled dough for the wreath is quite soft and has to be kneaded until smooth, like any bread dough. Once smooth form into a ball and place into a bowl and cover with a tea towel or cling film and set aside to prove for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
Once it has proved, turn out of the bowl and knead until the air is knocked out (knock Back). Roll into a rectangle, roughly 48 x 37 cms. (19 x 14 1/2 inches) you don’t have to be exact but it does need to be a rectangle rather than a square.
Once the dough is rolled out dab spoonfuls of the filling all over the dough, this makes it easier to spread evenly. Spread the filling evenly.
Start rolling the dough from the long side into a tight swiss roll, at this point you can transfer it to a greased baking sheet, cut it in half if it’s too long. Or form the dough into a ring using a little beaten egg to seal the edges to join the 2 ends of the wreath.
Using large scissors, a knife will be very difficult, snip deep cuts into the wreath at even distances all around. Then bend every other ‘bun’ to the outside of the ring and the ‘buns’ in between to the inside of the ring until it looks like the photo. The dough will stretch a little, you don’t need to pull the ‘buns’ hard. If you are leaving the dough in a log, snip the dough in the same way and alternately pull the buns left and right.
Brush the wreath or logs with beaten egg and sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake.
Orange And Cardamom Wreath
makes approximately 18
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