People like cinnamon rolls, I hold this truth to be self evident. I am deeply suspicious of anyone who doesn’t like cinnamon rolls. It seems the Estonians have perfected the art of the cinnamon roll. That’s an achievement that any nation can be truly proud of. I thought the Swedes had it cracked, but no, let’s hear it for Estonia.
The sneaky brilliance of the Estonians is to make a lovely, twisted, slice-able cinnamon ring. It looks beautiful and you can have as much as you like, slice after slice … after slice.
There’s two tricks in the Estonian armoury. The first is to add cardamom to the dough. I use a standard enriched dough, go ahead and use your favourite cinnamon roll dough. I ground the contents of maybe a dozen cardamom pods, about a teaspoonful, into the dough ingredients when I threw them in the bread maker.
The second trick is you don’t slice it width-wise into little buns, instead, slicing once, down the length of the sausage then twisting the two halves together, like a plait, but with only two threads.
Thank you Estonia!
- 2 1/4 cups Strong White Bread Flour
- 1 tsp Dried Yeast
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 1 Egg
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 1/4 cup Water
- 1 tsp Fresh Ground Cardamon*
- 1/2 cup Butter
- 2 tbsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 cup Sugar
*Fresh ground cardamom is a bazillion times better than the pre-ground stuff (statistic may be not be accurate), so buy the pods and grind them yourself at home. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, just bash ’em.
Having a good, cheap bread maker with a dough setting turns you into a fabulous baker and makes you the envy of all your friends, whilst you get to leave the machine to do all the dull work.
- Throw all the dough ingredients into the bread machine and set it to the dough setting
- Mix the filling ingredients into a paste and set aside
- Grease a large cookie sheet
- Have a sherry
- When the dough is ready preheat the oven to 400F/200C/Gas 6
- Roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 15″ square
- Spread the filling evenly all over the dough except a thin rim around the edge like a pizza crust
- Roll the dough up like a Swiss roll/pinwheel log
- The cut is important, instead of cutting widthways to make individual buns, you want to make one long cut, starting an inch from the end lengthways along the whole roll
- Plait the two resulting strands of dough over each other to make a long dough twist
- Put the dough on the cookie sheet, and shape it into a ring, squishing together the two ends
- Bake for 20 minutes, feel free to have another sherry
- Take out and allow to cool for as long as you can stand to have the warm doughy-cinnamon-cardamom smell in the kitchen without eating it.
- I’m not a big fan of iced buns, so serve it nude, but feel free to add your regular topping or dust with icing sugar if you’re feeling fancy.