I can't get over how delicious cardamom smells.
It's one of my favorite spices.
I love cardamom in spicy-hot equatorial cuisine like Indian curries and African stews as well as in sweet northern baked goods like those from Scandinavia.
A good friend served a mission for the LDS Church in Finland and taught me and my sisters to make Finnish Pulla, a sweet, egg bread spiced with cardamom.
I've been making it at Christmas for the past 4 years and couldn't resist making it again over the weekend.
It's simple, but takes about 6 hours with the multiple rising steps.
Here is the recipe so you can make it and sniff cardamom all day and night:
2 cups milk
1 packet (1 tsp.) yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 T. ground cardamom
4 eggs beaten
9 cups white flour
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg, beaten
2 T. large chunky sugar for decoration.
1. Dissolve yeast in warm water; heat milk without boiling, then cool to room temp.
2. Combine yeast liquid, milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, 4 eggs, and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth and elastic. Add 3 more cups flour (5 cups total), beat well; dough should be smooth and glossy. Add melted butter, beat until glossy. Stir in remaining (4 cups) flour until the dough is stiff.
3. Turn dough out of bowl onto a floured surface. Cover with inverted bowl to rest 15 minutes. Knead dowugh until smooth and satiny. Place in lightly greased mixing bowl, turn dough to grease the top. Cover with clean dishcloth, let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour). Punch down and let rise again until almost doubled.
4. Turn out onto a floured surface, and divide into 3 parts. Divide those further into 3 parts. Roll each piece into 12-16 inch strips. Braid 3 strips into a loaf. Lift 3 braided loaves onto greased baking sheets (or sheets lined with parchment paper). Rise for 20 min.
5. Brush each loaf with beaten egg and sprinkle with crunchy sugar.
Bake at 375* for 25-30 min. Check to see if top is burning, cover with foil if necessary.
Serve sliced with tea/coffee.
As it gets old and dries out, toast it. Or break into pieces and pour milk over.
Makes great french toast.
(Also great to use dough as cinnamon bun dough, or orange rolls, or poppy seed buns, etc.)