You know that morning–the one when you’re cozied up with family and/or friends and comfort and delight are the names of the game. The game being breakfast. Maybe it’s snowy outside, or hot if you’re down here, or maybe it’s a festive time of year or maybe it’s someone’s birthday or maybe it’s just a day you love annually that has nothing to do with celebrations.
I believe we all need some breakfast delight. In just such an instance, I made these the other morning. Or, I should say the other night, because they’re overnight buns, which is how I like my bread to be: working hard for me as I sleep.
I was looking for a recipe that incompassed the following: cardamom, pears, whole wheat and a satisfying absence of icing. (I love cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing, and although it’s the Month of Excess, I was trying to err on the side of abstemious. Sort of.) I haven’t had a lot of luck finding good cardamom bun recipes online–at least not in the places I’ve searched and not to my exact liking. (Maybe I’m being too picky; if you know a good one, let me know!) But I’m also a tinkerer, so I took a regular cinnamon bun recipe and tweaked it. It worked. This recipe is adapted from the great one over at Sally’s Baking Addiction.
I’m sure there are cardamom haters out there (hanging out with the cilantro haters?), so if you are one of them, you can stop humming loudly with your hands over your ears and just replace the offending word with ‘cinnamon’ and all will be well. Still use the pears, or maybe apples, because fruit in sweet breads = heaven.
Disclosure: The recipe below (and my claims above) state that you don’t need an icing for these. Yet the photos tell otherwise, don’t they? On the first batch I caved to the fear that the filling wouldn’t be sweet enough and made a quick cinnamon-milk-sugar icing, but I think you can be brave and make them without icing. Unless you don’t want to, and then I’d completely understand.
Overnight Pear-Cardamom Buns
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into pieces
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting/rolling
1 cup whole wheat flour
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup panela sugar or brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
2 medium-ish pears, ripe but still firm
Warm the milk either on the stove or in the microwave until lukewarm. Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (or mix the dough by hand, but a standmixer is awesome for this). With a spoon, stir the sugar and yeast into the milk. Let sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5-10 minutes. On low speed, beat in the softened butter until it is slightly broken up. Next add the eggs, one at a time, and then the salt. The butter won’t really be mixing into the mixture, so don’t worry if it stays in pieces. On low speed, gradually add the flour. Once it is all added, beat on medium speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed and beat until the dough is soft, smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes longer. If you’re mixing by hand, be prepared to knead for ten minutes or so.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands for 1 minute. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours.
Butter the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish, then line with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll into a 13×18 inch rectangle.
For the filling:
Peel the pears and slice them into ½ inch, fairly thin pieces. If they’re too thick they won’t cook through until soft, but a little crunch isn’t the end of the world in these buns either. Spread the softened butter all over the dough. In a small bowl, toss the cinnamon, cardamom and sugar together until combined and then sprinkle evenly over the dough. Sprinkle the pear pieces evenly over sugar mixture. Tightly roll up the dough to form an 18-inch-long log. Cut into 12 even rolls. Arrange them in the prepared baking pan, cut sides up. Cover the rolls very tightly with aluminum foil and put in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours.
Remove rolls from fridge and let rise in a warm place until they are puffy, about 1-2 hours. You can speed this up by heating your oven to 250 degrees, turning it off, and putting the buns in there to rise.
After the rolls have risen, preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C). Bake for about 25 minutes, until they are golden brown. If they seem to be browning too quickly, cover the pan with the aluminum foil from the rise stage. Remove pan from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before devouring. If you want to make an icing for these, make sure to prepare it while they cook and spread it on after they’re been out of the oven for about ten minutes.
Happy mornings to all,