Korvapuusti (Finnish Cinnamon buns)

Korvapuusti // Vagabond Baker

Korvapuusti

I love finding amazing baking inspiration around the globe, sitting in a cafe and eating a local sweet treat with my coffee and working out how I could make it.

These korvapuusti (kor-va-poo-sti, rolling that delicious little R) were inspired by the many I ate during my two weeks travelling around southern Finland in December, they were my morning fix: find a great cafe then black coffee and a korvapuusti. Heaven.

Korvapuusti are Finnish cinnamon buns, iconically shaped into scrolls. Rather wonderfully, their name translates as ‘slapped ears‘, which is both hilarious and random. If anyone can tell me why, I love to know!

These buns are infused with cardamom, a scent that I will now always associate with Nordic Europe. It is a spice that is used in abundance in Nordic baking, from cinnamon rolls to doughnuts.

If you’ve never tried it, you must: nothing goes better with coffee!

Korvapuusti // Vagabond Baker

To create the korvapuusti I tinkered with my ‘go-to’ enriched dough (which I use for hot cross buns, blueberry pull-apart buns etc), I increased the quantity, added an extra egg yolk and liberally infused it with ground cardamom.

It took a few bakes for me to be happy with the result, partly because I’m in Germany at the moment and I had to try a few flour grades to get the right feel of the dough. Fortunately, ground cardamom is easy to find in the shops here, I’m not sure it is in the UK, I’ll be bringing a few jars home with me I think (because I’m completely addicted to it!).

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korvapuusti // Vagabond BakerKorvapuustit are a form of ‘pulla’: a Finnish sweet bread that is traditionally served with coffee. The dough is lightly sweetened and flavoured with cardamom which has ideally been freshly ground. This fresh grinding often leaves grainier seeds which give more scent and potency, I noticed this in a few of the pulla I ate in Finland.

The dough is used in many guises from plaited loaves to these cinnamon scrolls. It is a dough I will definitely be using for other things, I’m completely won over by this Nordic sweet bread!

Korvapuusti // Vagabond Baker

Korvapuusti

This pulla dough is pretty straightforward, wet into dry. There’s no need to ‘start’ the yeast off first. Try not to use too much flour when you knead it, if the dough is too dry the korvapuusti will be tough.

A generously heaped tablespoon of ground cardamom may seem a lot but trust me on this, you need that much. If you are using freshly ground cardamom, don’t heap it.

Pearled sugar adds a wonderful sweet crunch.

For the dough

  • 200 ml (4/5 cup) milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 60 g (1/2 stick plus a bit) unsalted butter
  • 1 sachet (1 tbsp) of fast-action dried yeast
  • 500 g (4 cups) strong (bread) white flour
  • 1 generously heaped tbsp ground cardamom
  • 75 g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 free-range egg plus 1 yolk, beaten

For the filling

  • 60 g (1/2 stick plus a bit) salted butter, very soft
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) light brown, or light muscovado, sugar
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon 

To finish

  • 1 beaten egg
  • pearled sugar 

Heat the milk to almost boiling point then take off the heat then add the salt and the butter (cut into slices if it is straight out the fridge). The butter will melt into the milk. Allow to cool to lukewarm.

Place the flour, yeast, ground cardamom and caster sugar into a large bowl and thoroughly mix together: a balloon whisk will do this brilliantly.

When the milk/butter has cooled, mix in the egg and egg yolk.

Add most of this liquid to the dry ingredients and begin to combine, switching to your hands. You may need all the liquid, you may need a spot more, depending on the flour and the humidity.

Bring the dough together and knead for around 8 to 10 minutes until soft and smooth.

Place into a clean bowl, cover with cling or a tea towel and leave to prove for around and hour, it should double in size. Leave it somewhere draft-free and not too cold.

Meanwhile, make the filling by combining the butter, sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Once the dough has risen, remove from the bowl and ‘knock back’, briefly kneading the air out.

I halve the dough to make it easier to work with. Take one half and roll out quite thinly into a squarish rectangle on a lightly dusted work surface. It wants to be around 5 mm thick; the squarer the rectangle, the more layers in the scroll.

Cover the rolled out dough with half the filling mixture, spreading it out evenly with the back of a metal spoon.

Tightly roll the rectangle up.

Now cut the korvapuusti by slicing on an angle so each piece has a fat end and a thin end (see photos)

To transform these wedge-shaped pieces into scrolls, place them wide edge down then firmly press down with your finger in the middle of the buns so the scrolled edges fan out. You need to be really firm or the crease won’t stay.

Preheat the oven to 190ºC / 375º F / gas 5 and line two baking sheets with parchment or silicon paper.

Arrange the buns onto the prepared baking sheets leaving plenty of room for them to rise. 

Cover loosely with cling or tea towels and leave to prove for 25 to 30 minutes.

Brush egg wash over the proven buns and sprinkle with pearl sugar.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in a preheated oven until risen and golden.

Cool on a wire rack.

These korvapuusti are best eaten while still warm and fresh.

They can be frozen and refreshed in a hot oven, for a taste of Finland any time!

Korvapuusti
Finnish cinnamon buns, infused with cardamom.
Print
For the dough
  1. 200 ml (4/5 cup) milk
  2. 1/2 tsp salt
  3. 60 g (1/2 stick plus a bit) unsalted butter
  4. 1 sachet (1 tbsp) of fast-action dried yeast
  5. 500 g (4 cups) strong (bread) white flour
  6. 1 generously heaped tbsp ground cardamom
  7. 75 g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  8. 1 free-range egg plus 1 yolk, beaten
For the filling
  1. 60 g (1/2 stick plus a bit) salted butter, very soft
  2. 100 g (1/2 cup) light brown, or light muscovado, sugar
  3. 1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
To finish
  1. 1 beaten egg
  2. pearled sugar
Instructions
  1. Heat the milk to almost boiling point then take off the heat then add the salt and the butter (cut into slices if it is straight out the fridge). The butter will melt into the milk. Allow to cool to lukewarm.
  2. Place the flour, yeast, ground cardamom and caster sugar into a large bowl and thoroughly mix together: a balloon whisk will do this brilliantly.
  3. When the milk/butter has cooled, mix in the egg and egg yolk.
  4. Add most of this liquid to the dry ingredients and begin to combine, switching to your hands. You may need all the liquid, you may need a spot more, depending on the flour and the humidity.
  5. Bring the dough together and knead for around 8 to 10 minutes until soft and smooth.
  6. Place into a clean bowl, cover with cling or a tea towel and leave to prove for around and hour, it should double in size. Leave it somewhere draft-free and not too cold.
  7. Meanwhile, make the filling by combining the butter, sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
  8. Once the dough has risen, remove from the bowl and ‘knock back’, briefly kneading the air out.
  9. I halve the dough to make it easier to work with. Take one half and roll out quite thinly into a squarish rectangle. It wants to be around 5 mm thick; the squarer the rectangle, the more layers in the scroll.
  10. Cover the rolled out dough with half the filling mixture, spreading it out evenly with the back of a metal spoon.
  11. Tightly roll the rectangle up.
  12. Now cut the korvapuusti by slicing on an angle so each piece has a fat end and a thin end.
  13. To transform these wedge-shaped pieces into scrolls, place them wide edge down then firmly press down with your finger in the middle of the buns so the scrolled edges fan out. You need to be really firm or the crease won’t stay.
  14. Preheat the oven to 190ºC / 375º F / gas 5 and line two baking sheets with parchment or silicon paper
  15. Arrange the buns onto the prepared baking sheets leaving plenty of room for them to rise.
  16. Cover loosely with cling or tea towels and leave to prove for 25 to 30 minutes.
  17. Brush egg wash over the proven buns and sprinkle with pearl sugar.
  18. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in a preheated oven until risen and golden.
  19. Cool on a wire rack.
Notes
  1. A generously heaped tablespoon of ground cardamom may seem a lot but trust me on this, you need that much. If you are using freshly ground cardamom, don’t heap it.
Vagabond Baker http://vagabondbaker.com/
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By Rachel A Davis   Follow on Bloglovin

10 Responses

  1. these look marvellous! Like Kerry I can see the resemblance to ears from the side as well, maybe the name has something to do with cauliflower ears? I haven’t tried cardamom in baking yet but it is on my list!
    Lucy @ BakingQueen74 recently posted…Strawberry Mini MeringuesMy Profile

    • Rachel Davis says:

      I think we may have solved the mystery! I think I’ll be putting cardamom into everything from now on, I think it must be addictive! I hope you can find ground cardamom easily.

  2. These are making my mouth water! I love cinnamon rolls! Going to try out this recipe (but tweaked to be vegan) at the weekend I reckon!
    Sus @ roughmeasures.com recently posted…Sweet Potato and Ginger CookiesMy Profile

    • Rachel Davis says:

      I’m intending to create vegan Scandinavian cinnamon rolls soon, I had an amazing one in Stockholm. Have fun making them, they will still be great without the egg and milk, just use water. Have a great weekend!

  3. These are so beautiful Rachel and I bet they taste just gorgeous. I can actually see why they’re called slapped ears – they don’t look a million miles away!
    Kerry @ Kerry Cooks recently posted…Best of 2014 on Kerry Cooks!My Profile

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