Fall has become my favorite season of all the past few years. I’ve shared before that when living in Norway, it was my least favorite, as the summers were way too short, the temperature dropped dramatically and I knew the long, dark and cold winter was just around the corner. It was almost depressing, as we would have to wait for months to properly see the bright day light again. My opinion about this season has changed dramatically since living on the east coast, and now signifies pretty, colorful leaves on the trees, apple and pumpkin picking at local farms in my area, hot apple cider, and cooler weather which allows for the creation of steamy, hot and comforting soups, stews and chilis, and last but not least: Baking!
I spend practically every weekend baking during fall and winter. I love the smell of dough rising and the smells that fill my kitchen; it is the way I love to spend “me time”. It’s peaceful and I find it very therapeutical. This time of year I love to browse through my Norwegian baking books, online blogs and Norwegian food sites to re-connect with my roots, and bring back those memories I cherish growing up in my house on Norway’s west coast with my mom at the stove, always creating something delicious. That is how I want my house to be as well. Luckily I have an American husband (and a dog!) who loves Norwegian food, so I have an enthusiastic fan club at home :)
Today I wanted to share with you an amazing pastry I made over the weekend that was inspired by the Scandinavian Cinnamon bun Day that just passed. It’s fondly called “flettebakst” in Norwegian, which translates directly to “braided baked goods”. ‘ Flette’ means braid, and ‘bakst‘ is a common word for pastries and baked goods. Austria and Switzerland are both countries with a strong tradition of braided pastries, and other countries also have their braiding specialties.
Flettebakst can be both savory and sweet, and while it looks really intricate and difficult to make, it is quite easy, yet will impress your entire family when you place it on the table.
This is a decadent pastry, and not for those looking to lose weight, but I will say that every bite of it is worth it… so try this for that one day when you would like to enjoy yourself a little extra! :)
BRAIDED CINNAMON ROSE WITH ALMONDS AND CINNAMON
adapted from godt.no
1 packed dry yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
2 cups milk
3/4 cup organic sugar
1 tsp salt
150 grams (5 1/4 oz) vegan butter, softened and cut into cubes
1 tbsp flax seed mixed with 3 tbsp water
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cinnamon
100 grams (3 1/2 oz) softened vegan butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped raw almonds
Almond (or other plant based) milk for brushing dough
Pearl sugar (or demarara sugar) for sprinkling on dough
Heat the milk along with the ground cardamom over low heat until it reaches about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the sugar, salt and flax mixture and whisk until combined.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, baking powder and cinnamon with the dough hook attachment. Slowly add in the milk mixture and knead the dough on low speed for about 10-15 minutes. Add in the cubed butter and knead for another 10 minutes until you have a smooth, firm dough that easily releases from the bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise for 1 hour.
Punch down the dough, sprinkle a little flour on a clean work surface and roll out the dough until you have a rectangle that is about 30 inches long (80 cm). Spread the butter on the surface and sprinkle the brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped almonds evenly across.
Start rolling the dough together from the long side as if you were making cinnamon buns leaving the end side down. With a sharp knife, split the dough in the middle all the way through.
Start placing one end over another and braid the dough together.
Form the braid into a circle, and it will end up looking like this:
Prepare a 10 inch spring form pan with a circle of parchment paper at the bottom and place the braided dough into it. Cover with a towel and let rise for another 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Brush the dough with the almond milk and sprinkle with the pearl /demarara sugar. Place the pan in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown on top.
Let cool on rack before releasing the spring form. Enjoy!