Cardamom, sesame and cinnamon rolls with tahini drizzle


Cinnamon cardamom rolls

These wonderfully sweet, doughy buns have a little Middle Eastern twist thanks to the use of cardamom pods, sesame seeds and tahini. They make the perfect afternoon treat when served with a steaming cup of black coffee which cuts through their sticky sweetness and balances the earthy aroma of the cardamom.

INGREDIENTS (Makes 12)

  • 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

  • 250g strong white bread flour

  • 40g caster sugar

  • 5g salt

  • 2 x 7g sachets fast action/easy bake yeast

  • 270ml whole milk

  • 50g unsalted butter, diced

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • flavourless oil (such as sunflower), for greasing

FILLING

  • 180g unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 140g light brown muscovado sugar

  • 40g plain flour

  • 3 tbsp ground cinnamon

  • 2 tbsp of ground cardamom (or the contents of about 8 pods crushed using a pestle and mortar)

  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, plus extra for topping

  • 125g mejdool dates, finely chopped (optional)

DRIZZLE

  • 30ml whole milk

  • 15g unsalted butter

  • 25g tahini

  • 175g icing sugar

Cinnamon cardamom rolls

cinnamon cardamom rolls

INSTRUCTIONS

1. To make the dough, put the flours, sugar, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl and stir together. Put the milk and diced butter in a saucepan; set over a medium-high heat. Keep your finger in the milk as it heats up and as soon as it feels just warm – not hot – remove it from the heat (the butter won’t completely melt). Add the milk and butter to the dry ingredients along with the whole egg. Knead until you have a smooth dough for about 15 minutes by hand. If the mixture is too sticky add a little more flour.

2. When the dough is smooth, elastic and supple, put it in a mixing bowl greased with a little flavourless oil. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or cling film, then leave the dough to prove until doubled in size (about 1 hour at room temperature). Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Beat together the butter, sugar, flour, cardamon and cinnamon until you have a smooth, spreadable paste; set aside.

3. When the dough has doubled in size, liberally dust the work surface with flour and roll the dough out into a square of about 40cm. Spread the filling over the dough, from edge to edge with a spatula. Scatter over the sesame seeds and dates (if using) as evenly as possible, then roll into a tight spiral. Once you have a long sausage, trim the ends to neaten, then cut into 12 equal portions with a knife. Place the portions of dough, spiral side up, on a 20cm x 30cm baking tray in 4 rows of 3, leaving room to spread. Loosely cover the tray with cling film or a tea towel and let the buns rise until doubled in size (35-45 minutes at room temperature). Preheat the oven to 180˚C (fan).

4. When the buns have risen (don't worry if they haven't doubled, I find this second prove is less critical than the first), mix the egg yolk with ½ tsp water and a pinch of salt, then brush over the tops of the buns. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until puffed up and lightly golden. Meanwhile, make the drizzle. Put the milk and butter in a saucepan set over a high heat and bring to the boil. Take off the heat then add the tahini and icing sugar; stir to a smooth, glossy glaze. When the buns are cooked, drizzle the warm glaze over them. Finish with a scattering of toasted sesame seeds. Delicious eaten as soon as they are cool enough to handle.