Brilliant blackcurrant buns

Brilliant blackcurrant buns

In all of Scandinavia we are very big on different varieties of cinnamon buns – kanelsnegle in Danish (literally cinnamon snails – they taste better than they sound), kanelboller in Norwegian (just plain old “cinnamon buns”) and kanelsnurrar (cinnamon swirls), but unlike us Danes and our Norwegian cousins, our Swedish neighbours have had the brilliant idea of adding other kinds of sweet filling than just cinnamon. The result is pretty amazing – and as some of you might know, Danes don’t like to admit that the Swedes can do anything right, so this is a lot coming from me.

A blackcurrant bun quite simply consists of a buttery yeast dough filled with blackcurrants and marzipan either rolled up or braided and then baked . In Sweden they usually make this kind of sweet buns with blueberries as they have so many in autumn, but I like the mix of sour and sweet of blackcurrant better.

If you think the braiding looks hard, you can roll the buns instead, but it really isn’t that hard – except to explain it in writing. Luckily there is a great youtube video to show you how.

Blackcurrant buns
Makes 20 small or 12 big buns

800-900g wheat flour
2 eggs
100g softened butter
50g caster sugar
25g fresh yeast
2 teaspoons cardamom
4dl full fat milk
A pinch of salt

150g blackcurrants
150g marzipan
100g butter
75g caster sugar
1 tablespoon water

In addition:
1 egg for brushing
A handful of nib sugar – a Scandinavian kind of coarse sugar that doesn’t melt with heat. If you get it then don’t worry. It looks pretty, but it is not essential to the taste.

Start by making the dough. Heat the milk until finger warm and stir in the fresh yeast. Add salt, sugar, eggs, cardemom and half of the flour. Mix well. Cut the butter into cubes and add together with enough flour to make a soft dough – it usually takes around 800-900 grams of flour. Knead the dough for 10-15 minutes on a stand mixer or at least 20 minutes by hand – think of it as saving you a trip to the gym to train your arms. At the end the dough should be smooth and very soft. Let it rise until it has doubled in size – takes about 1½ hours.

While the dough is rising, make the filling. Place the blackcurrants in a pot with the water. Bring it to a boil and let it gently simmer stirring occasionally, until it has thickened. Take it off the heat, add sugar and let it cool down. Taste it and add a bit more of sugar if you think it is too sour. Grate the marzipan and mix thoroughly with the butter. Add to the fruit and mix well.
Brilliant blackcurrant buns

When the dough has risen roll it out in a rectangle measuring around 40×65 cm. Spread the filling over the entire surface in an even layer.

Brilliant blackcurrant buns

Fold one third in towards the middle and then fold another third across so you end up having three layers of dough on top of each other. Cut the dough into strips around 2cm broad.

Brilliant blackcurrant buns

Explaining how the knead the blackcurrant buns is pretty hard. After about four or five tries that were complete nonsense, I figured it simpler to let a little video show you how. Mine don’t look exactly like the ones in the video – I think everybody ends up developing their own technique.

Place the buns on baking paper with lots of space between them and let them rise for an hour covered with a damp cloth.

Whisk the egg together and brush the blackcurrant buns. If you can get your hands on nip sugar then sprinkle each bun generously.

Brilliant blackcurrant buns

Bake the buns for 10-12 minutes at 225 degrees Celsius – or until golden.

Solbærsnurrer, færdigbagt, september 2013

The blackcurrant buns are best while fresh and warm out of the oven, but they keep for a few days in an airtight container.

Brilliant blackcurrant buns

Homemade strawberry and rhubarb cordial

Jordbærrabarbersaft, færdig3, juli 2013

Strawberry and rhubarb cordial

On a warm summer’s day there is nothing better than a cold glass of something sweet and fruity. In Denmark we make lots of “saft” which best translates into cordial or squash – a thick and strong fruit drink that is diluted with (sparkling) water. We have so many strawberries in summer that there is no way we can eat them all so we have come up with all sorts of ways to preserve the fresh summer fruit for later on in the year when summer is long gone and making cordial out of them is a good way.

This strawberry and rhubarb cordial is easy to make and will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks or almost indefinitely in the freezer – this way you can have a sip of summer in the cold winter months. The cordial is also great for making sorbets and cocktails.

Strawberry and rhubarb cordial
Makes 3-4 liters of undiluted cordial

4kg very ripe strawberries
1,5kg rhubarb
2,5l water
2-3 organic lemons
5dl golden caster sugar or to taste
2 vanilla pods
If you happen to have fresh elderflower then put in some of those too

Bottles with tight fitting lids for 3-4 liters of cordial

Clean the strawberries and rhubarb, cut them into smaller pieces, and put the fruit in a pot large enough to contain it all. Cut open the vanilla pods, scrape out the seeds and mix well with a deciliter of sugar – this makes it easier for the vanilla to dissolve in the cordial. Put the sugar and the empty vanilla pods in the pot together with the peel and juice from two lemons.

Strawberry and rhubarb cordial

Pour enough water into the pot to almost cover the fruit – I used around 2,5 liters.

Strawberry and rhubarb cordial

Let it gentle simmer until the fruit is very soft – this will take about 45-60 minutes. Mash the fruit so it becomes a think porridge like consistency. Add sugar and perhaps more lemon to taste – how much depends on the ripeness of the fruit and personal preference, but I usually add around 4dl of sugar and maybe half a lemon. Let the fruit sit until completely cool or preferable keep it overnight in the fridge to draw out as much taste as possible. Taste the fruit again and adjust with lemon and sugar if needed.

Strawberry and rhubarb cordial

Pick out the vanilla pods and the lemon peel and strain the fruit. If you would like a clear liquid then pass the fruit through a thin muslin cloth. If you – like me – don’t care (it doesn’t affect the taste) than just pass it through a fine mesh sieve and let all the juice run through. It takes a bit of time, but you can help the process along with a spoon and a bit of patience. The leftover fruit can be eaten on bread, put in muffins or eaten on top of your morning cereal.

Sterilize the bottles for the cordial – if you are unsure of the process then here is a good guide. Pour the cordial into the sterilized bottles and keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks or in the freezer for up to a year. Remember to use plastic bottles if you are planning on freezing the cordial.

Strawberry and rhubarb cordial

The cordial is quite strong so it is best to thin it with (sparkling) water – use one part cordial to one part water or to taste. Serve the cordial with lots of ice, slices of lemon and perhaps even some fresh berries. It also works very well in a glass of sparkling wine as a fruity summer drink.

Strawberry and rhubarb cordial