Friday, December 21, 2012

Lussekatter (Saffron Lucia Buns)

I can't believe I've never made these buns before. They are SO good, and the more I ate them, the more I liked them! They're just slightly sweet---not quite like a cinnamon roll. They're soft and fragrant and the pearl sugar adds a delightful crunch on top. I hadn't ever cooked with saffron before and it gives them such a gorgeous color, and flavor. Saffron is expensive, but I found it at World Market for a pretty good price. And having tasted these buns I would buy it again! I think we'll make these every year.

The Swedes (and the Danes) make these for Santa Lucia Day on December 13th. The oldest girl in the family wears a white dress with a red sash, and crown of candles on her head, and serves these to her family. When I was little I wanted to do this so much!
We have a candle crown, but it's too big and heavy for Daisy! And my mom made her this little white dress.
Luckily we had a paper candle crown, too. Much lighter.
She looked so cute.

On to the recipe! I found it on this excellent blog, and there's really no need for me to reproduce it here because he does it so well, except that maybe you wouldn't run across these buns at all otherwise. So I can at least introduce you to the idea of them!
Look at the beautiful yellow of this saffron-infused milk!

Lussekatter
(recipe from here)

1 gram saffron threads
16 ounces (2 cups) milk
7 cups (2 lbs. 3 ounces) all-purpose flour
2/3 c sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons instant yeast
8 ounces sour cream (room temperature)
3.5 ounces (7 tablespoons) soft butter
egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 T. water)
pearl sugar* or coarse sugar

*I got my pearl sugar at IKEA

Crush the saffron threads with a mortar and pestle or in a bowl with the back of a spoon as best you can. Warm the milk in a medium saucepan just to the simmer and add the saffron. Stir it, turn off the heat and let it cool until it’s just warm (about body temperature).

Meanwhile, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Pour the milk mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Add the the sour cream and stir to combine. Add the flour steadily and stir until a dough forms. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough about 7 minutes until it’s very elastic and comes away from the sides of the bowl. With the machine running, add the soft butter about a tablespoon at a time until it’s all incorporated.

Turn the dough out into a large bowl, cover it with a cloth and let it rise about 40 minutes or until about doubled in size. Flour a work surface, turn out the dough and cut it into 35 (or so) pieces. Roll them out into snakes about 14 inches long. Flatten the snakes slightly with a pin, then roll the strips inward from each end into an “S” shape. Lay them on parchment lined sheets to proof, about another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, set your oven racks in the lower half of the oven and preheat to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Paint the rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake 8-12 minutes until golden.
These are really fun to roll up, even more fun than cinnamon rolls!
Seb and Abe loved helping
Here they are on the pan. Their name means "Lucia cats," and can't you imagine them as cute little cats sitting up with their tails curled? Adorable.
And ready to serve, with some hot cocoa. Yum!

2 comments:

  1. Well, YUM. And the paper crown is perfect for the lovely Daisey.

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  2. im swedish and we do santa lucia every year. my mom always makes swedish pancakes and sausage and hot cocoa eggs orange rolls. it would be fun to make the
    Saffron Lucia Buns. we've always considered it but didn't know of a good recipe. will definitely try these. your picts are adorable btw santa lucia

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