Thursday, December 13, 2007
Lucia Buns - Lussekatter
Today is Santa Lucia Day, which means celebrations all over Sweden with candles, music, glögg, gingerbread cookies and lucia buns - yeasted saffron buns, with raisins.
I wrote about Lucia two years ago, and I had another recipe for saffron buns last year.
The problem with making saffron buns is that the saffron dries out the dough, and the buns go stale in no time. So make these on the same day as you plan to eat them, or put them in the freezer right away. They really won't keep well.
That said, this recipe is really good and really easy. It has a lot of butter and cream, and that helps to keep the dough nice and moist, and it's really a dream to handle. You don't need much flour at all, and no extra when you shape the buns, and that's always good in terms of moistness. So, do try these - you won't regret it!
Makes 20 large ones
100 g fresh yeast
400 ml milk, full-fat
100 ml cream (35-40% fat)
200 g butter
1-1,5 g saffron
200 ml sugar
1 tsp salt
1 kilo white flour
1 egg, beaten
Crumble the yeast into the bowl of your stand mixer (or a regular bowl, if making this by hand). Melt the butter, then add the milk and the cream and heat until it's about 37°C - it should just barely feel warm to the touch. Add this to the yeast and stir until it has dissolved.
Put the saffron with a pinch of sugar in your pestle and mortar, and mix well. Add to the dough, along with salt, sugar, the egg and most of the flour. Work into a smooth and silky dough - it will look pretty sticky, so add the rest of the flour, but don't worry if it's still sticky. It's supposed to be. It shouldn't stick to your fingers though.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, and leave to rise, covered, for 45 minutes. Then it's time to shape the dough. I started by dividing the dough into equal portions, using digital kitchen scales. I like my lucia buns fairly large - that, again, helps counter any dryness. The traditional shape is as you can see in the photo below a fairly tight "s". Place raisins in the middle of the swirls on each side.
Place on a cookie sheet, cover, and let the buns rise for about 15 minutes. Brush with a beaten egg, and bake at 200°C for 8-10 minutes.
Recipe in Swedish: