This post is about my Norwegian partner (I often use the word “partner” because it’s ambiguous on the sex and I like to make people wonder). I made these Scandinavian buns for him as it’s one of his favorites and cooking for people is the only way I know how to show affection.
See, I market Scandinavian men to all my single girlfriends. Not because they’re mostly tall, blonde and beautiful – mine’s a six-foot ginger – still beautiful, though, of course. But because they’re nice. Yes, it’s a closed-up, shy and sometimes awkward population looking from the outside but they’re genuinely nice and fun, and not just after five beers – one is enough.
I wasn’t used to the culture at first. My Norwegian at first didn’t open doors for me, didn’t make me walk on the inside of the road and didn’t let me walk in front (he’s sweetly learned some chivalry through the years with me). My Mediterranean father would be reading this in horror. But at the same time my Norwegian also never viewed me as the weaker, gentler sex. He probably does more housework than me, he’s certainly better at it, and if I ask really nicely he’ll even iron my clothes.
That’s a Scandinavian attitude, and that’s why I think every woman deserves their own Scando. Now, there are around 20 million Scandinavians, and only 5 million Norwegians in the world. According to this source, there are only 1.1 million Norwegian men between 24-54 years old. I’m Chinese, I grew up in Beijing, 1.1 million was my apartment block back home. Once when I was feeling down and a failure and having not accomplished anything – my partner kindly reminded that I snatched up a Norwegian man, which is an accomplishment considering how rare they are.
These are Scandinavian raisin buns – just your common yeast milk dough studded with raisins and infused with cardamom. It’s one of those light easy morning snacks. So wonderfully fluffy, I love them when they’re still a bit warm. I really should make them more for my Norwegian partner.
Recipe adapted Leila Lindholm
Makes 10 buns
1 tbsp cardamom pods
135g caster sugar
7g (1 packet) fast action dried yeast
150g unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
660 – 720g strong flour
+ 1 egg, whisked well with a 1/2 tbsp of water for eggwash
Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover with boiling water.
Crack open the cardamom pods and crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle until fine.
Place the crushed seeds in a small pan along with the milk and heat to about 45C (115F).
In a bowl of a stand mixer or just a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, yeast, salt, butter and egg.
Add the milk and most of the flour. Using the dough hook, knead for a couple of minutes until the dough is glossy and soft. Alternatively knead by hand for 5-10 minutes. At this point, drain the raisins and add the raisins to the bowl and have it knead them through. The dough should be a bit sticky, don’t add too much flour at once.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to double in size — about an hour.
Divide the dough into 10 portions, flatten, then roll them into smooth balls. Place them spaced a few cm apart on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with tea towel and let them rise for about 45 minutes.
Have the oven heated to 200C. Brush the top of the buns with the egg wash and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.
Leave to cool slightly and enjoy.