Lussekatter mark the beginning of the Christmas season in Sweden and is served on December 13th. This day is St. Lucia and it’s a day which brings light into the winter darkness. St. Lucia is celebrated with a parade of girls dressed in white, carrying candles in their hands and the leading girl has a crown of candles on her head. It’s a very beautiful tradition and you can see more of it here.
In Denmark we inherited the St. Lucia tradition but not the Lussekatter, so these buns are new to me and I must say that they are super delicious when served warm right out of the oven. They have a sweet Saffron flavor and the most beautiful golden color. The down-side to the Lussekatter is that they don’t keep well and they really should be eaten the same day they are baked. However, if they feel a little hard by the end of the day you can soften them up by putting them in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds and they will still be very delicious.
Lussekatter (makes 10 buns)
100 grams butter (3.5 oz.)
0.75 gram saffron
4 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast (50 grams cake/fresh yeast)
200 milliliter milk (6.7 oz.)
50 milliliter heavy whipping cream (1.6 oz.)
100 milliliter sugar (3.4 oz.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 kilogram all-purpose flour (17.6 oz.)
1 egg, for egg wash
raisins (20 large)
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Melt butter and set aside.
Place saffron strands in a small dish and add a very small amount of the sugar. With the back of a spoon smash the saffron and sugar to break the saffron strands into smaller pieces. Set aside.
Heat the milk and cream to 100-110 degrees F (do not exceed 110 degrees). Add the dry yeast and saffron to the warm milk, stir to combine and let sit for 10 minutes.
In the bowl of your mixer fitted with the dough hook, add milk mixture, butter, sugar, salt and egg, start the mixer. Add flour in small increment, continue to mix until dough comes together. Do not over-mix. Transfer dough to a clean bowl, cover with a clean, dry tea-towel and let rise for 45 minutes.
Divide dough into 10 equal portions. I used my scale for this, making sure each dough ball weighed between 80-100 grams. Roll each dough ball into a long rope measuring 9 inches. Fold each rope into a tight backwards “S” figure and place on baking sheet. Press a large raisin into the middle of the swirl in each end of the dough. Cover dough with a clean, dry tea-towel and allow to rise for another 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 390 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Beat 1 egg to make an egg-wash. Press each raisin down half-way into the dough to ensure they don’t get pushed up and out during baking. Brush each bun with the egg wash. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not over-bake. Enjoy Lussekatter warm.
Source: adapted from Anne’s Food
This recipe will be submitted to YeastSpotting, a great site filled with Wild Yeast recipes.