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.
Makes 20 small or 12 big buns
800-900g wheat flour
100g softened butter
50g caster sugar
25g fresh yeast
2 teaspoons cardamom
4dl full fat milk
A pinch of salt
75g caster sugar
1 tablespoon water
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bake the buns for 10-12 minutes at 225 degrees Celsius – or until golden.
The blackcurrant buns are best while fresh and warm out of the oven, but they keep for a few days in an airtight container.