Veteskorpor med kardemumma- Wheat Rusks with Cardamom
These rusks are deceptively modest in appearance, meanwhile the flavor is opulent - perfumy with spices. They are tender and crispy in texture; to fully experience the depth of their aroma, dunk them in in your coffee or tea.
When I grew up, it was considered very poor manners to dunk your rusks. I can still picture my grandmother in her kitchen, stealthily dunking a cardemom rush, fresh from the oven, in her 11 o'clock coffee. What a sight for the eyes of the innocent!
Ibn Sweden we eat rusks nowadays as a snack, with tea och coffe or cordial, or crumbled into the traditional rose hip soup or "saftsoppa".
Rusks are documented at least as far back as the 1500's in Sweden. My recipe isn't quite as old as that however...
They were an important provision for the Swedish army in the 1700's, and course rusks, also known as "ship rusks" were stored on long journeys at sea as they were light weight and, if stored well, could keep almost indefinitely. My grandmother would store hers above the stove since that was a very dry and warm space. This is one of many, many recipes in my collection. There are breakfast rusks, spice rusks, scented cinnamon, with aniseed, fennel and "pomerans" (bitter orange); various whole grain rusks and of course the delicacy rusks which are tiny delicious one-bite treats (I will feature this recipe soon).
Here is my recipe for wheat cardamom rusks. Enjoy!
Makes approx. 150 rusks.
200 g. butter (my grandmother would use half butter-half lard)
0.5 liter milk
50 g. yeast
1 tsp salt
1.5 - 2 dl sugar
1.5- 2 tsp cardamom, ground
1.5 liters flour (approx)
1 tsp baking powder (for a shorter texture)
some oil for brushing
Melt the fat in a pan along with the freshly ground cardamom seeds (don't grind the full pods, you need to open them and get the little seeds inside; in Sweden you can buy de-podded seeds, look in specialty shops or online if you can't find them, it is quite convenient). Pour in the milk and heat to 37 degrees C (98 F).
Crumble the yeast into a bowl, stir in some of the liquid to dissolve the yeast and then add the rest.
Add sugar, egg and most of the flour. Mix in your mixer using the dough attachment, a few minutes or knead by hand.
Add the salt and work the dough thouroughly, approx 8 minuted in your machine (even longer by hand).
Cover with a towel or baking cloth and let it rise until it doubles in size.
Turn the dough onto a work surface and split it into five lengths. Roll them as long as your baking sheet is wide. Place on the baking sheet.
Brush the sides of each length with oil so that they will separate more easily when baked.
Bake in 225 degrees C (437 F) about 15-20 minutes. Let cool, keep the oven on but set it to 175 C (347 F).
Split each length in half (as if you were opening a baguette, but cut all they way through). The slice each half in 2-4 cm pieces.
Spread the pieces on baking sheets and pop them back in the oven for about 10 minutes.
Then lower the oven temperature again, to 50-70 degrees C, (122 - 158 F), leaving the oven door slightly ajar, and let the rusks dry out until they feel completely dry.
Finally it is time to pour a cup of coffee and dunk. Yum, so good!