My dear boyfriend K. has hijacked my recipe. Really. For umpteen years I used to make sweet cardamom scented and cinnamon filled rolls based on a recipe in a small treasured book I've had for ages: Cakes, Cookies and Bread from Sweden. The recipe never failed to produce satisfied smiles and happy tummies, be it at Christmas or during various birthday parties. Depending on the occasion, I either made one large round 'pidusai' (for birthdays) or individual rolls (for Christmas). To make 'pidusai', you roll the dough, fill with something yummy, roll up, cut into chunks and place the rolls into a round baking tin, where they bake into one large round bread that can be easily teared into separate rolls later. I believe it's known as 'Boston' elsewhere?
This was my cinnamon rolls/boston recipe.
Few weeks ago K. and I were discussing what to bake for his mum's birthday, and K. said he'd really love to make pidusai like his grandmother used to do. We carefully flipped through the pages of his grandmother's handwritten cookbooks from 1934, but to no avail. No such recipe.
It was then that I foolishly offered him my tried and trusted and treasured pidusai recipe.
It must have been beginners luck. After some mishaps (where did he get the idea to cut the dough into strips first and then roll them up???), K. produced a wonderful pidusai. It was a truly great success. His mum said it was as good as grandmother's. K. decided to make it again for last weekend when we went to visit my parents. Everybody was praising him. Last night I told K. that we've been invited to visit some joint friends of ours next weekend and we've been asked to bring along a cake. K. was far too quick in replying that he could make MY pidusai.
Who's supposed to be the Domestic Goddess in our household, anyway??
(I am kidding, obviously:)
Pidusai or my cinnamon boston
Adapted from Bread, Cookies and Cakes from Sweden by Görel Kristina Näslund, 1985
50 grams fresh yeast
50 ml lukewarm water
100 grams butter, melted
300 ml milk
0.5 tsp salt
100 ml sugar
1 tsp freshly ground cardamom (about 20 pods)
600 grams plain flour (ca 1,2 litres)
100 grams butter
100 ml sugar
0.5 Tbsp cinnamon
egg for brushing and demerara sugar for sprinkling
In a big mixing bowl, mix the yeast with the warm water until combined.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add milk, then pour the lukewarm mixture (test with your little finger first that it's not too hot or it will kill the yeast!) into the yeast.
Add salt, sugar and cardamom. Add flour little by little, kneading, until you've got a uniform dough that doesn't stick to the bowl anymore. This may take up to 10 minutes kneading - don't be tempted to add more flour than prescribed, as it will result in 'heavy' pastries.
[When using KitchenAid, then add most of the flour, and knead for about 5 minutes until combined.]
Cover the mixing bowl with clingfilm or a clean towel and let it rise until doubled in size in a warm place.
Meanwhile make the filling - melt the butter, mix in sugar and cinnamon.
When the dough has risen, then knead slightly and divide into three.
Roll each into a square measuring 23x30 cm. Spread the cinnamon filling on top, (sprinkle with raisins*) and then roll up from the wide end.
Cut into thick slices (5 cm or 2 inches is ideal - see K. doing in on the right) and place into a buttered and lined springform tin.
The rolls will rise in the oven, so do not place them too tightly together.
Leave to rise for another half an hour, if possible.
Brush with egg, sprinkle with demerara sugar for a slight caramel crunch.
Bake at 200C for 20-30 minutes, until the bread has risen and turned into golden brown. Or until your kitchen smells like a cinnamon-cardamom scented heaven!
* Adding raisins was K's idea. His grandfather used to be a good cook, and insisted on putting lots of raisins into sweet breads and pastries. Apparently one only needs enough dough/pastry to keep the raisins together:) You can also add candied orange peel with raisins.