Photograph by Keirnan Monaghan Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Cinnamon and Cardamom Braid

Desserts from Issue 6 – Fall / Winter 2015 – Magic

So intensely tempting was the leafy rapunzel lettuce growing in their enchantress neighbor’s garden, that a couple willingly swapped their future firstborn child for a bunch. Their daughter Rapunzel would spend her life locked away in a tower until a prince heard her singing and cried, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.” It’s the image of her long braids (before they were so cruelly chopped off) that inspired our thick cords of cinnamon and cardamom-laced bread.

serves 6 to 8

  • ½ cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 (¼ oz, about 2¼ tsp) packet active dry yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into bits and softened

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1

    Heat buttermilk until lukewarm (105-110°F); don’t worry if it looks thin or broken. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and stir in yeast and a pinch of sugar. Let stand until mixture bubbles slightly and becomes creamy looking, about 5 minutes. If the yeast does not react, discard and start over with new yeast.

  • 2

    Beat in ½ cup flour until combined. Then, beat in egg, sugar, and salt until smooth. At low speed, beat in remaining 1½ cups flour, ½ cup at a time until combined. Then beat in butter, a few pieces at a time until they are incorporated into a doughy ball. (If you have a dough hook, you could switch to it at this point.) Beat dough at medium-high until shiny and elastic, about 5 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm spot until double in size, about 1 hour.

  • 3

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together filling ingredients until blended, setting aside 1 Tbsp for finishing braid. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle roughly 8 by 12-inches. Smear filling evenly over dough, then roll up lengthwise into a tight roll.

  • 4

    Cut roll lengthwise down the center as if you’re splitting a hair. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Twist the two pieces back together into a long twist arranging the dough so with each twist, the cut sides are facing out. Form the twist into a round and pinch ends together. Smear with remaining Tbsp filling.

  • 5

    Bake until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes.