I always thought cardamom buns would take too much effort to make, considering I can get an excellent one at a cafe near me in Auckland. But being in this extended lockdown has prompted me to tackle more adventurous baking. I was also inspired by a friend who lives in Europe and is currently holidaying in Sweden, the land of the free. She's been frequenting the konditorei and enjoying some authentic Scandinavian fika. I'm pretty happy with my efforts here and I can tell you the taste of freedom is warm and fragrant. I've adapted this recipe from The Nordic Baking Book by Magnus Nilsson.

Makes 12-16 small buns
100 ml milk
50 ml cream, optional (or use more milk)
10 g active dried yeast
3 c flour (I used spelt)
1/2 Tbsp finely ground cardamom seeds
1/3 c sugar (I used coconut)
1/4 tsp salt
50 g butter, soft
1 egg

75 g butter, soft
1/4 c sugar (I used coconut)
1/2 Tbsp ground cardamom

2 Tbsp brown rice syrup or honey, warmed (you could also use golden or maple syrup)

Warm the milk and cream and mix it with the yeast in a small bowl. Leave for 5 minutes to froth up.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cardamom, sugar and salt and dot with softened butter. Make a well in the centre.
Mix the egg into the yeast mixture then pour into the flour. Mix with butter knife until a scraggy dough comes together.
Tip out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, cover and leave in a warm place to double in size, at least an hour.
Make the filling by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl.
Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface, punch down and knead for a minute.
Roll dough into a rectangle about 1 cm thick. Spread the filling evenly over it. Fold the dough in half lengthways and cut into strips 3-4 cm wide. Make a cut into each slice almost all the way to the folded end, so it looks like a pair of trousers.
Twist the 2 legs together then roll up and tie them together as a knot, tucking the end pieces under the bun. Place on your baking sheet and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 220. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush over with warmed syrup. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.