Kanelbullar

Friday, October 5th, 2012
bread,diagrams,sweet — by Johanna

Yesterday was the day of Kanelbullen (the cinnamon bun) which Swedes celebrate by having ‘fika’ (a traditional coffee break in Sweden).  If you are as serious a bun eater as Anna Brones and myself, you will bake them yourself and have “fika” all day. Below is our last  article together on EcoSalon. It may be the end of EcoSalon, but it will not be the last time you see something from Anna and me, our collaboration will continue one way or another. This article was 1st published at EcoSalon, 4 October 2012.

Baking and Celebrating Swedish Cinnamon Rolls (on Cinnamon Roll Day!)
by Anna Brones (text & recipe) and Johanna Kindvall (recipe & illustrations)

Sweden is equated with many things, but there is nothing as iconic as the cinnamon roll. In Swedish culinary culture, every cup of coffee deserves to be served with a baked good. This tradition is called fika and at its core is the cinnamon roll.

I don’t mean the cream cheese frosting topped, so-sweet-it-makes-you-cringe version that is served in the U.S., I mean the classic Swedish pastry, with a hint of cardamom and just sugary enough. In a country where cinnamon rolls are a staple in every cafe and bakery, and every respectable Swede has made their own batch at least once in their lives, it should come as no surprise that Sweden is in fact the cinnamon roll’s presumed country of origin.

The beauty of the Swedish cinnamon roll is in its versatility. Depending on your mood, you can switch out a few key ingredients for a completely different taste. Cardamom infused filling instead of the standard cinnamon and sugar mix for example (kardemummabullar).

October 4 marks Kanelbullens Dag (Cinnamon Roll Day) – an entire day devoted the the baked good. Since you probably don’t have the chance to sit in a warm Stockholm cafe on a crisp autumn day and order a kanelbulle from the counter, here are a few versions you can make yourself. Just be sure to serve with coffee.

Kanelbullar – Swedish Cinnamon Rolls
Makes about 30-40 buns

dough

2 1/8 cup (500 ml) milk
25g fresh yeast (or 2 envelopes dry active yeast)
2/3 cup (130 g) brown sugar
5 7/8 cups (840 g) flour
2 teaspoons whole cardamom seeds
½ teaspoon salt
5 ¼ oz (150 g) butter (at room temperature)

alternative 1: cinnamon filling
4 ½ oz (about 125 g) butter (at room temperature)
1/3 cup (65 gr) regular sugar
2 ½ teaspoon cinnamon

alternative 2: cardamom filling
4 ½ oz (about 125 g) butter (at room temperature)
1/3 cup (65 gr) brown sugar
4 teaspoons whole cardamoms
(optional: 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

topping

one small egg (whipped together)
pearl sugar or sliced almonds

Prepare the dough: Crumble the yeast (if using dry yeast prepare it as required) in a big bowl. Heat milk until it is warm to the touch, about 100ºF (about 110ºF for dry yeast). Add the milk to the yeast and stir until yeast has dissolved.

Crush the cardamoms in a mortar and pestle.

Mix together flour, sugar, cardamom and salt before adding it to the milk and yeast mixture. Add in the butter in small cubes. Blend well, either by hand or by using a food processor. Knead it well for about 5-10 minutes.

Cover the dough and place in a draft free place and let it rise for at least 40 minutes.

Filling: Mix all ingredients for the filling to an even batter. It is important for the butter to be at room temperature so it’s easier to spread.

Divide the dough into two pieces and using a rolling pin (or a wine bottle), roll each of them out separately to the shape of a rectangle (see diagram above).

Spread half of the filling onto each piece of rolled out dough so that it covers the entire area. Roll the dough up beginning with the long side. Slice the roll into about 20 equal sized (about 1 inch wide) slices and place them with their cut side up on baking sheet. Repeat above procedure with the last piece of dough.

Let them rise for about 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg and brush all buns and sprinkle pearl sugar or sliced almonds on top.

Bake them in the oven at 225ºC (about 440F) for 8-10 minutes.

Note: You can also fold the dough as shown below which is more common when making the bun with cardamom filling.

This dough recipe was adapted from Mia Örn’s recipe on Kardemummabullar.

More Swedish baked classics

Semlor – cardamom rich bun is filled with almond paste and heavy whipped cream
Pepparkakor – Ginger Bread Cookies (at EcoSalon)
Lussebullar – Saffron Buns
Mazariner – Guest post by Anna Brones

Autumn Foraging: Apples

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
diagrams,drinks,fruit — by Johanna

In my neighbor’s garden there is an old apple tree. The tree and the garden is in need of care. It always hurts my heart when I see fruit of any kind fall to the ground before anyone even thinks of taking care of them. As nobody actually lives next door I think its ok to pick them. So I went over there to have a look. The apples didn’t look that great and they would probably be terrible in most things, I thought. I took a bite and smiled. It was a crisp bite and the taste was sweet and sour at the same time. This abandoned tree was in fact a Granny Smith or at least something very close to it. Granny Smith may not be my absolute favorite but an apple like this is excellent in an apple tart or a nutty manchego salad.

Apples in general are very useful in cooking, for both savory or sweet dishes. A chicken for example is really flavorful when roasted whole filled with apples and prunes. Different kinds of preserves such as apple compote, apple butter and apple chutney are fantastic treats that can be served with many different things, such as a sweet flavor in oatmeal, as a side to meat or together with cheese on bread. While growing up I remember having only apple compote with cold milk as an afternoon snack.

Then there are endless amazing cakes and pies that can be baked with apples. There is of course always the classic Tarte Tartine that was created by two sisters after a successful accident in the kitchen. A more unusual apple pie is the south Swedish version (Skånsk Äpplekaka) that is made with rye bread crumbs. It may sound strange but its absolutely delicious served with vanilla sauce.

If you have a lots of apples you should really consider making your own apple juice or cider. If my neighbor’s tree would give me more apples, I would definitively brew hard apple cider. Sandor Ellix Katz says, in his book “wild fermentation”, to brew apple cider is one of the simplest alcohol fermentation you can make. You just need fresh good quality apple juice (preferably juiced by yourself), a jug, a cheese cloth and a rubber band. He calls it Spontaneous Cider.

Last year I got really inspired by Joanna at Zeb Bakes when she made apple cider vinegar with the scraps and pieces that were left over after making apple cake. I think it’s really clever to use something that normally would be thrown away. Joanna’s vinegar was inspired by Carl Legge‘s experiments which he describes very well in his post Fermenting Revolution 2 – Apple cider vinegar. The below recipe is pretty much the same as Carl’s formula (Sandor Katz suggests less sugar in his book).

I think my neighbor’s Granny Smith are perfect for this recipe.

Granny Smith Cider Vinegar

  • ½ cup (about 120 ml) sugar (I used half regular sugar and half brown)
  • 4 ¼ cup (one liter) water
  • 6-12 small Granny Smith apples* (more or less if you are using scraps or whole apples)

Heat up the water together with the sugar. When the sugar has dissolved into the water take off the heat and let cool. This is important as hot liquid will not let the natural yeast start the process. During this time you can prepare the apples. I used whole apples, which I rinsed and cut into one inch (2-3 cm) pieces. But you can use leftover bits and pieces as well. Place the apples in a large glass jar or other suitable container. It’s good if the jar has a wide opening, according to Sandor Katz a larger exposure to air helps the process.

When the sugar solution is cool enough (about room temperature) pour it over the apple pieces. Place a plate on top to weigh down the apples (I took a bowl and a mortar). Place the container in a warm place. To avoid flies etc cover with a cheesecloth or kitchen towel (fastened by a rubber band). Stir and taste the apples every day. (After about 3 days I could see small bubbles and the flavor was sweet and fizzy. This as a good sign, the fermenting process is doing what it should do).

After 7-10 days, the apples have done their job and you will need to strain them through a sieve. Pour back into the jar and let stand for another 7-14 days. Continue to taste your batch regularly. It will soon start to taste more like vinegar than cider. When you are happy with the flavor, strain the liquid again and pour the liquid into sterilized bottles and seal them properly. The film that will be created on top is called “Mother of Vinegar” that can be used as a starter for your next vinegar.


* You can of course use any other kind of apple in this recipe. You can also make vinegar with other kinds of fruit and berries. Sandor Katz mentions in his book that almost any fruit scraps and peels etc can be used for making vinegar. He suggests pineapple, grapes or even overripe bananas.

This article was originally published at EcoSalon, 2 October 2012.

In this Autumn Foraging series see also Autumn Foraging: Rose Hips with a recipe of Rose Hip Sherry.

 

 

Autumn Foraging: Rose Hips

Saturday, September 15th, 2012
diagrams,drinks,fruit — by Johanna

The other day I took my bike on a long long bike ride  to get to the sea through neighborhoods I never new existed. The idea was to get away from the city to breath fresh salty air and eat some newly caught clams. The bonus was that I got to pick ripe rose hips. The rose bushes where growing in the sand just at the edge of the beach. As a rose hip loving Swede, this was a happy moment and I picked as many as I could find.

Rose hips are very high in vitamin C and there are plenty of things to make with it. For example, the outer fruity part of the rose hip (often orange or red) can be dried and used for soup and tea (which can be done with the fresh fruit as well). A rose hip soup is very popular in Sweden especially among children. I love it. The soup can be eaten warm or cold, with ice cream or tiny almond cookies (mandel biskvier) that are best soaked in the soup. My favorite is to serve the soup while cross-country skiing, smoking hot directly from a thermos. I can’t think of a better energy treat than that!

If you ever have split open a rose hip you probably know that the hairy part that surrounds the seeds creates itchiness on your skin. Its annoying but totally harmless. (It’s actually used as an itching powder).

Fresh rose hips are often used to make jam, marmalade or jelly. You can also make schnapps, liqueur or, why not some rose hip sherry? My sister Anna Kindvall has become sort of an expert at making sherry out of rose hips. So well that a restaurant recently wanted to put it on their dessert wine list. In her wine cabinet you can find different vintages of the wine and like many other wines this wine gets better with age. The wine is sweet and flavorful. It works well with desserts or different kinds of cheeses. It’s also great in cooking and, I agree with my sister, a dash of rose hip sherry in a chantarelle sauce is heavenly.

My sister (and others) claims that the most flavorful rose hips are the once with long narrow fruits. I have also heard that the best time to pick them is after the 1st frost (however my sister picks them always before). Here in Brooklyn it’s still summer and the once I picked were all small and round (with a really nice aroma). I couldn’t get hold of winemakers yeast so I’m using instant yeast. Oh well, in time we will see how my batch of  wine will turn out.

Anna’s Rose Hip Sherry

  • 8 ½ cups (2 liters) rose hips (preferably the long narrow fruits)
  • 3 1/3 lb (1 ½ kg) sugar
  • 12 2/3 cups (3 liter) water
  • 25 gr wine maker’s yeast (or fresh yeast, it might even work with instant yeast)

Roughly trim the rose hips but don’t rinse them with water as the surface contains natural yeast that are useful in the process (or that’s what I’ve heard). Make a sugar syrup by heating up the sugar together with the water. When the sugar has dissolved let it cool. Use some of the liquid to dissolve the yeast. Let the yeast start (there will be bubbles on the surface) before mixing with the rest of the sugar liquid and the rose hips in a bucket or a glass carboy. Cover the jar and let the wine sit still for three months. At this time the liquid should look clear and the rose hips have fallen to the bottom of the jar.

Tap the sherry into dark bottles (for example on 12 fl oz (33 cl) beer bottles). To avoid the sediment at the bottom Anna recommends spooning up the sherry instead of pouring (can be hard with a carboy). Seal with a suitable cork or cap. Let the sherry stand for at least one more month before drinking.

If you are patient enough to store it, or at least with some of it, my sister thinks it’s best to drink after 5 years.

This article was originally published at EcoSalon, 13 september 2012

In this Autumn Foraging Series also check out, Autumn Foraging – Apples with an Apple Cider Vinegar recipe

Ana’s Hazelnut Cake with Dark Chocolate

Friday, September 14th, 2012
chocolate,diagrams,sweet — by Johanna

At the beginning of the summer I spotted a cake on twitter that I just couldn’t resist. It was a Chocolate & Hazelnut Cake by Ana Vega. The cake is not a dessert cake, its more like a breakfast cake or something perfect for an afternoon cup of tea. From Ana I later learned that the cake was a remake of her Plum cake corriente y moliente (plum cake with dried fruits). Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Ana runs the cake & dessert blog Biscayenne (all in Spanish) where she share recipes and stories from her tiny kitchen in Bilbao. She also has an online vintage shop with pretty cutlery, porcelain and other kitchenware.

I have now baked this cake several times and just a few weeks ago I added some black cherries to the cake. It made it very moist and delicious. The cherries worked really well with the dark chocolate. I can also imagine adding some banana but in the end its absolutely fine just as it is.
I have only made a few changes to the recipe: Instead of regular sugar I used brown sugar. I also reduced the sugar as I wanted a less sweet cake, which Ana also suggest when using fruit in the cake.

Ana’s Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate

180g (7/8 Cup) brown sugar
3 eggs
250g (1 2/3 cup) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
125g (a little more than 4 oz) butter
150g (1 cup) hazelnuts
60g (70%) (about 2 oz) dark chocolate

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Mill the hazelnuts finely in a food processor or nut grinder. (If you don’t have either just chop it finely). Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Beat eggs and sugar together before adding flour and baking powder. Blend well together to avoid any floury lumps in the batter. Pour in the melted butter and stir together before adding the milled hazelnuts and the chocolate.
Grease a loaf tin or similar mold and pour the batter into it. Bake the cake for 15 minutes 355°F (180°C). Lower the heat to 320°F (160°C) and continue baking until the top has a brown crisp crust and a toothpick comes out dry (about 40-45 minutes).

Enjoy at breakfast, brunch or with an afternoon tea!

This article was originally published at Honest Cooking on 12 September 2012

 

Grilled Spicy Shrimps

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012
diagrams,fish — by Johanna

Instead of enjoying the Swedish summer by growing vegetables and foraging for berries and mushrooms, I have been stuck with NY’s summer heat. I can’t say it has all been miserable though, it just hasn’t been the same. In Sweden I would have picked wild black cherries instead of gluttonized on local peaches. I would also have picked yellow chanterelles instead of trying to grow my own oyster mushrooms. Its all good as both places have their own unique quality.

I have found it a little hard to be in my kitchen cooking when the city gets too hot and humid. Some nights I end up just eating cold watermelon with feta or something like that. Delicious and simple. Luckily we have had direct access to a really lovely garden so many dinners have been cooked outside on the terrace. Often vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini and field mushrooms (sliced up and simply marinated with herbs, garlic, olive oil and tamari) served together with steak, just barely grilled and thinly sliced.Other specialties are BBQ’d mussels and shrimps (see below). The mussels can be BBQ’d as is and eaten with squeezed lemon. You can also precook them and grill them topped with garlic butter and breadcrumbs.

Grilled Spicy Shrimps

one lb un-shelled raw shrimps, small or medium
about ½ cup olive oil
juice from ½ a lime
fresh chili (what kind depends on how spicy you want the shrimps)
two cloves of garlic
plenty of cilantro
sea salt (seasoning)

Rinse the shrimps and let them dry. Mix together olive oil, lime juice and finely chopped cilantro, garlic & chili. Season with sea salt. Place all the shrimps on the grill on high temperature (but no flames). Turn the shrimps over to the other side when they have got some nice color (after about a minute). They are done when they are cooked through and they all have a nice pink color.
Drop the shrimps directly from the grill into the olive oil mixture. Stir around and serve immediately together with bread and salad.

This article was originally published at Honest Cooking, 27 August 2012

Before buying any fish check with Seafood Watch (US) for the most sustainable options.