As one of you guessed, the picture yesterday was St. Lucia buns, or "Lussekatter", as they are called in Swedish (they're also known as lussebullar or simply saffransbullar - a dear child has many names). They are basically sweet buns with saffron, shaped in "curls". Lussekatter are traditionally eaten around St. Lucy's Day on December 13. Baking lussekatter with my Mom is such an integral and cherished part of my childhood Christmas memories - and although it's still early, I talked her into making these buns last weekend. ;)
Vegan Lussekatter - Saffron Buns
- 50 g/1.76 oz fresh yeast (or 20-22 g/0.7-0.8 oz dry yeast)
- 2 c lukewarm non-dairy milk (warmer, if using dry yeast)
- 2/3 c sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 to 1/2 c vegan buttery margarine, softened
- 1 g saffron threads
- 1 tbsp cardamom (optional)
- 5-6 c unbleached all-purpose flour
Coffee or melted vegan margarine
Raisins, pearl sugar
Crumble the yeast in a large bowl, add sugar, and pour the warm milk over (if using dry yeast, skip this step, and mix the yeast with a small amount of flour first, then mix into the sugar-milk mixture, using slightly warmer milk). Mix until yeast is dissolved.
Add the salt, spices, and enough flour to make a thin batter. Add the softened (or melted) vegan margarine and more flour, gradually, and knead for a few minutes, until you get a soft, elastic dough that doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl. Use only the amount of flour needed to make a soft dough that pulls into a ball - the less flour you need, the better.
Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let it stand in a warm place for about half an hour, until doubled in size.
Pour the dough onto a floured surface, and knead with your hands again. Add more flour if necessary, but only as much as necessary so that the dough does not stick to the surface.
Form the dough into lussekatter - see the instructions below.
Cover again with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rise for 20-30 minutes. In the meanwhile, preheat your oven to 225 C/425-450 F.
Brush with coffee or margarine, and sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until golden.
Pensla med uppvispat ägg eller smält margarin och garnera med russin.
To make the buns:
Start by rolling your dough into a log, then cut it into equal pieces.
Roll each piece into a rope, like this:
Starting from both ends, roll the rope into a curl.
Press some raisins into the ends of the curl.
Brush with coffee or margarine, and sprinkle some pearl sugar on top (if desired). Don't worry, you really can't taste the coffee at all - it's only for color.
Wait while they bake, enjoying the lovely scent coming from the oven...
Then enjoy warm, with a glass of your favorite non-dairy milk. :) We only used about 0.5 grams (half the amount) saffron for these, as we ran out in the middle of baking. If you use the amount given in the recipe - which I recommend - you'll get a more distinct, yellow color.
The shape above is probably the most traditional shape for lussekatter. My Mom makes them in some different shapes as well, which I will probably share with you later in December. In the meanwhile, you can see a picture of the many shapes here.