Sunday, February 3, 2013

Baking: Apple Cardamom Buns in Sweet Cream Dough

Mick Jagger is about as sexy as a pissing toad. – Truman Capote 

No resemblance to Mick Jagger.

Food porn. That’s the best words I have heard to describe the over the top "sexy" way food and food photography is portrayed now online and on TV.

It’s an apt term, and I’m guilty of my fair share of proliferation. I only wish that my photographs were sexier. I also wish that computers had smell-evision or taste-evision. Some recipes would really make that technology investment worthwhile.

The dough rised overnight.
I say thank goodness for sexy food pictures. We do eat with our eyes first. Ask any restauranteur if they take care in the presentation of their dishes. I bet even if they don’t they wouldn’t admit it. Positive expectation is half the consumer battle.

Of course food porn can be taken to extremes. With the rise of pinterest (guilty) and instrgram (not yet...) some diners are beginning to make pests of themselves. Mostly their intentions are good – sharing something wondrous; for others it’s bragging. But pest they can be, especially to other diners. 

There are some chefs now that refuse to allow diners to take pictures of their food. I can sympathize if you have some wiener standing on his or her chair to get “just the right angle”... I'm paying for ambiance as much as food. Acrobatics (unless a floor show) isn't on my menu.

A pan full of kitchen love.
Of course taking photos of food you prepare yourself is fair game. I just wish I was better at it, even though I took several photography courses at NSCAD. A poor craftsman blames his tools, it is said. I blame my point-and-shoot.

Hopefully my photos with this post do this recipe justice. These buns are worthy of being food porn. Just amazing.

Of course my intentions are twofold: first to illustrate how things are done, and second to make it appetizing enough that you’ll want to make them.

If you could be in our kitchen right now, as they are cooling, and smell them, you’d go running for your yeast instantly.

Do you think I believe these are good? Well they are. This dough is a cousin of the dough I made for my old fashioned cinnamon rolls (recipe here), with some specific differences.

The first is the overnight rise and the second is no eggs. I substituted cream for richness, so the dough is slightly less fluffy, but no less delicious.

Mixing the dough and letting it sit is actually n work. Making the buns the next day is maybe 20 minutes hands on time, and uses common ingredients. 

If you’ve never had apples and cardamom together you’re really missing a match made in heaven. Would you like another?

Apple Cardamom Buns in Sweet Cream Dough
Prep: Overnight  |  Bake: 40-45 min  |  Yield 9 buns
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup water
1/2 cup 18% cream
2 tbsp sugar
2-1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp salt
3-1/2 cups unbleached flour

2 granny smith apples
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
2 tsp ground cardamom

1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp cream
2 tsp white corn syrup

Melt the butter. Combine it with the water and cream in a large bowl. Mix in the sugar, yeast and salt. Then stir in the flour until the mixture comes together fairly smoothly.

Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise on the counter overnight (at least 12 hours).

The next day pare and core the apples. Chop into fairly small pieces (less than 1/2” in size). 

Melt 1 tbsp of the butter in a sauté pan and add the apples and sugar. Cook the apples just until they are no longer crisp, about 2 minutes. Do not cook until soft or the apple pieces may disappear when baked.

Roll the risen dough out on a floured board to 16” x 12”. Take the remaining butter and dot the surface of the dough. Sprinkle the surface with the sugar and then the cardamom. Then arrange the slightly cooked apple pieces on the top.

Working with the 16” dimension facing you, ease the dough up over itself and roll into a log. Square up the ends so the entire log is nearly the same thickness. Measure into thirds and cut. Then cut each third in three pieces.

Butter a 9” x 9” baking pan and arrange the rolls in three rows of three. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the rolls in the middle of the oven for between 40-45 minutes.

Let cool slightly. Mix the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the still-warm buns. Serve immediately.


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