When I was a kid and I would go to the mall with my parents, they would always share a raisin croissant for an afternoon snack. I never understood why they chose the raisin croissant over the chocolate one. I mean who likes raisins in their pastry? Well apparently as an adult I do too. Perhaps it's the memory of my parents or perhaps I've just developed a better palate but I now crave raisin croissants. To combine my craving with the seasonal fruit, I decided to create the ultimate orange cardamom raisin buns. Flaky layers filled with warm spices and finished with an orange glaze, these pastries are the best way to wake up.
Orange Cardamom Raisin Buns
- ⅔ cup warm milk, 100-110 degrees F (155 grams)
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (10 grams)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ¼ cup butter, melted (57 grams)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (445 grams)
- ¾ cup butter, cold (170 grams)
- ¼ cup butter, melted (50 grams)
- ¾ cup brown sugar (150 grams)
- 1 teaspoon cardamom, ground
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ground
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 cup raisins (150 grams)
- ¼ cup butter (57 grams)
- ¼ cup honey (84 grams)
- ¼ cup orange juice (60 grams)
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- Combine warm milk with active dry yeast and granulated sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture is foamy. Add eggs, melted butter, salt, and all-purpose four and mix to form a dough. Knead for 7-8 minutes or until the dough pulls away from the bowl and is smooth. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and wrap it in plastic wrap. Proof the dough in a warm area for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Place ¾ cup cold butter in between two sheets of wax paper. Pound and roll out with a rolling pin into a 12x6 inch rectangle.
- Lightly dust a clean work counter with flour. Transfer the dough to the counter and roll into a 12x18 inch rectangle, with the long side facing you. Place the butter in the center of the dough and fold over the left side of the dough over the butter. Fold over the right side of the dough to form a tri-fold. Dust off any excess flour and wrap the dough in plastic. Freeze for 15 minutes or chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Unwrap the dough and rotate it 90 degrees so that the open seams are now facing the sides. Roll out the dough into a 12x18 inch rectangle and fold it the same way as before to form a tri-fold. Chill another 15 minutes in the freezer or 30 minutes in the fridge. Repeat the folding process one more time and chill another 15 minutes in the freezer or 30 minutes in the fridge.
- While the dough is chilling, make the filling. Melt ¼ cup butter and set aside. Combine brown sugar with cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest. Reserve 2 tablespoon of the sugar mixture and set aside. Add the raisins to the sugar and set aside.
- Roll out the dough into a 12x18 inch rectangle with the long side facing you. Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle the brown sugar raisin mixture on top. Roll the dough into a log and cut the log into 12 rolls about 1 ½ inches wide. Place the rolls with the cut sides on top in a 9x13 baking pan, leaving space in between the rolls. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Make the orange glaze. Heat the butter with honey, orange juice, and orange zest in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool.
- Brush the tops of the buns with the orange syrup, you will have some left over. Sprinkle the reserved 2 tablespoon sugar mixture on top and bake the buns for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove the buns from the oven and brush with the remaining orange syrup. Serve warm.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
I'm sure that by reading the recipe you've assumed that these orange cardamom raisin buns require some work. Funnily enough, I wanted to skip the tedious step of making a croissant so I went with a shortcut route. This shortcut route still requires a handful of steps but it's slightly easier than making croissants!
Let's start by making an enriched dough. I wanted soft flaky layers so there are eggs and butter in the dough itself. Knead until smooth and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
To create the layers, we're going to laminate the dough similar to how croissants are laminated. This simply means you're creating layers of dough and butter by folding the dough multiple times.
For successful lamination, you need cold butter. Pound and roll out the butter into a thin 12x6 inch rectangle. This is the perfect opportunity to let out all your stress and anger! Use that power to get the butter paper-thin.
Now roll out the into a 12x18 inch rectangle and place the butter in the center. Fold the dough into thirds, folding the right side over the butter followed by the left side. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge or 15 minutes in the freezer.
Take out the dough and turn it 90 degrees so that the open seams are now facing the sides. Think of it this way: the dough pictured above needs to rotate to the right so that the long side is now horizontal. Roll out the dough and fold it into thirds. Chill and repeat.
While the dough is chilling, use the time to make the filling. Mix together brown sugar with all the spices and set aside 2 tbsp. You're going to use that 2 tablespoon to sprinkle on top of the buns later on. Add raisins to the mix and set them aside.
Now comes the fun part: filling the dough. Brush melted butter on the rolled out dough and sprinkle the filling in an even layer. Roll the dough into a log and cut the log into 12 equal pieces. Place the rolls in a baking sheet with the cut sides facing up and proof the buns for another 30 minutes.
We're almost at the finish line! While the rolls are proofing, make the orange glaze by simmering together the butter, honey, orange juice, and orange zest until slightly thickened. You can also make the glaze several hours in advance. When you're ready to bake, brush the tops of the buns with the orange glaze and sprinkle the reserved 2 tablespoon brown sugar mixture. Finally, bake the buns until golden brown for about 20-25 minutes.
Finish the orange cardamom raisin buns with more of that glorious orange glaze and finally dig in.
Can you see those beautiful layers? These pastries were exactly what I wanted: soft, buttery, flavorful, orange-y, and so much more that I don't have enough words to describe them. Hey mom and dad! Think you would want one of these??
For more sweet bread inspiration check out these maple custard brioche tarts with caramelized pears!