Recipes and images from Nordic Light by Simon Bajada (Hardie Grant Books, $49.99, hbk).
Nordic countries have a closer association with the Mediterranean than many would imagine, with retirees and young families alike spending plenty of time down south topping up their vitamin D levels. I can only imagine that’s how this flavour combo was born. Two great bakeries I know of in Stockholm who make the best traditional cinnamon buns do so with these flavours – here they are incorporated into a more savoury dough to be enjoyed with butter and black coffee.
- 125 g (4½ oz/½ cup) Greek-style yoghurt
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp dried instant yeast
- 225 g (8 oz/1½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
- 225 g (8 oz/1½ cups) wholemeal (whole-wheat) flour
- 1 tbsp raw sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 185 g (6½ oz/1 cup) soft dried figs, chopped
- 30 g (1 oz) butter, melted
- 100 g (3½ oz) fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
- 1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
This recipe makes 1 x 800 g ( 1lb 12 oz ) loaf.
Rising time 45 minutes
Mix the yoghurt, egg and olive oil together in a bowl with 170 ml (6 fl oz/⅔ cup) of water until well combined. Stir in the instant yeast to dissolve.
Gradually add the flours, sugar and salt and mix everything together to form an elastic dough, then tip onto a clean floured work surface and knead for 2–3 minutes until smooth. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
While the dough is rising, prepare the filling by putting all the ingredients in a bowl and gently tossing together.
Once risen, transfer the dough to the work surface and form into a snake-shaped log about 60 cm (24 in) long. Fold the log back on itself to create a ‘U’ shape with a trough running down the middle of the dough.
Line the trough with the filling ingredients then, holding the end of the dough with two ends, twist the opposite end clockwise three times on itself. Filling will go everywhere, but you can stuff it back in the right places once you have your basic twisted shape. Place the shaped loaf in a greased and floured 25 cm x 12 cm (10 in x 4½ in) loaf tin and set aside to rise for another 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).
Once risen, transfer the loaf tin to the oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until the loaf is lightly golden and sounds hollow when tapped. Turn out and serve warm, spread with butter and accompanied by a pot of coffee.
View our Readable feasts review and more recipes from the book here.