A cup of coffee alongside these Swedish cardamom buns makes for the perfect fika – a coffee and cake break.
Place all the dough ingredients except the milk in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Heat the milk in a small pan over a low heat until just warmed to blood temperature. Add to the mixer bowl and mix for 5 minutes, until the dough becomes soft and elastic. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
Meanwhile make the fillings. For the cardamom filling, place the ground almonds, butter, sugar, cinnamon and cardamom in a small mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon to a smooth paste. Set aside.
For the chocolate crème pâtissière filling, place the egg yolks and sugar in a small mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon to a thick, pale cream, then beat in the flour and cornflour. Heat the vanilla and milk in a small pan over a medium heat until it begins to simmer, then gradually stir it into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook over a low heat until it forms a very thick custard (about 4 minutes). Stir in the chopped dark chocolate until smooth and set aside.
Tip out the dough onto a floured work surface. Roll into a 36 x 30cm rectangle. Spread half the length with cardamom filling and the other half with chocolate filling. Fold the halves together and pinch the edges to seal.
Lightly roll out the dough again, then cut into 12 equal strips, each about 2.5cm wide. Cut down the length of each strip, stopping 3cm before the end to leave it intact. Hold each ‘leg’ of the strip between a finger and thumb and twist one in a clockwise direction and the other in an anticlockwise direction, then wind them both on top of the uncut section and place the bun in a hole of the muffin tin. Repeat to make 12 buns. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for about 30–45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
When the buns have proved, heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6. Bake the buns for 15 minutes, until risen and golden brown. Remove from the oven, but leave in the tin while you make the syrup.
Place the maple syrup, honey, vanilla and cardamom pods in a pan and simmer for 2–3 minutes, until syrupy. Brush the mixture over the buns, then sprinkle with the pearl sugar and place on a wire rack to cool before serving.