Fika is a lovely Sweden tradition that is just as ingrained in their culture as afternoon tea is in British culture. What is Fika, you ask. It’s the habit of sitting and talking with friends over a cup of coffee. Southern California has lots of beautiful outdoor cafes that we enjoy year-round, so I was intrigued by this book. And, of course, when we travel, we always take time out to sit and enjoy a coffee, tea, and something sweet to eat. At home, our breaks are usually accompanied by a vigorous game of cards.
Sweden is one of the world’s top coffee consuming nations, and the twice-daily social coffee break known as fika is a cherished custom. Fika can be had alone or in groups, indoors or outdoors, while traveling or at home. A time to take a rest from work and chat with friends or colleagues over a cup and a sweet treat, fika reflects the Swedish ideal of slowing down to appreciate life’s small joys. In this adorable illustrated cookbook, Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall share nearly fifty classic recipes from their motherland—from cinnamon buns and ginger snaps to rhubarb cordial and rye bread—allowing all of us to enjoy this charming tradition regardless of where we live. ~ Press Release
In their new book, Fika, Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall bring this tradition to America with an explanation of it and 126 pages of illustrated recipes. With so much to choose from, I decided to try the Vetebullar – Cinnamon and Cardamom Buns. I love how the fresh flavor of cardamom plays off the earthy tones of cinnamon. They’re easy to make and the yeast dough, scented with cardamom, is soft and delicious. These rolls are much smaller than their typical American counterparts and are made without any extra glaze.
- 7 tablespoons (3.5 ounces, 99 grams) unsalted butter
- 1½ cups (360 milliliters) milk
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 4½ cups (1⅜ pounds, 638 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (1.75 ounces. 50 grams) natural cane sugar
- 1½ teaspoons whole cardamom seeds crushed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons (3.5 ounces, 99 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup (3.5 ounces. 99 grams) natural cane sugar
- 3 - 4 teaspoons grand cinnamon or whole cardamom seeds, crushed
- 2 additional teaspoons crushed cardamom seeds, if making filling using cinnamon
- 1 egg, beaten
- Pearl sugar or chopped almonds
- To prepare the dough, melt the butter in a saucepan; then stir in the milk. Heat until warm to the touch (about 110 degrees F/ 43 degrees C). In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 2 to 3 tablespoons of the warm mixture. Stir and let sit for a few minutes until bubbles form on top of the yeast.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cardamom, and salt. Add the yeast mixture along with the remaining butter and milk. Work together with your hands until you can make the dough into a ball.
- Transfer the dough to a flat surface and knead it until smooth and elastic, 3 to 5 minutes. The dough should feel moist, but if it sticks to your fingers, add a tiny bit of flour. The dough is fully kneaded when you slice into it with a sharp knife and see small air bubbles throughout. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a clean tea towel, and place in a draft-free place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Grease a baking sheet, or place medium paper liners directly on the sheet.
- Make the filling right before the dough has finished rising. Using a fork, cream the butter together with the sugar and spices until you get an evenly mixed, spreadable mixture.
- When the dough has finished rising, take half of the dough and place it on a flat surface. Roll it out with a rolling pin to an 11 by 17-inch (28 by 43-centimeter) rectangle. Place the rectangle on the surface so that the long side is closest to you.
- Carefully spread half of the filling on top of the rolled-out dough so that it covers the entire area; be sure to go all the way to the edges. Begin at the long side near you and roll the dough upward. Slice the roll into 15 to 18 equally sized slices and place them, rolled side up, on the baking sheet or in the paper liners. If using a baking sheet, pinch the ends of the slices to keep them from pulling away during baking. Repeat with the second half of the dough. Cover the buns with a clean tea towel and let rise for 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 435 degrees F (220 degrees C).
- When the buns have risen, carefully brush them with the beaten egg and sprinkle each with the pearl sugar.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. If you are baking a length, bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer the buns from the baking sheet to the counter and cover with a tea towel to cool. Serve freshly baked, and if not eaten right away, store in the freezer once they are completely cooled.
- The book includes variations of shapes - I made a length.
This delightful book is filled with definitions and illustrations. The only thing that would make it better is photos. Although the directions are very clear, when I made these, I wasn’t sure exactly what they were supposed to look like. I was happy with them and they were delicious fresh from the oven! We could all benefit from this lovely Swedish tradition of stopping for a few minutes to enjoy spending time with each other over a nice cup of coffee and a sweet or savory treat!
I received this book as part of the Random House Blogging for Books program.