These rich saffron buns are a traditional Swedish Christmas treat, typically consumed on Lucia (or St Lucy’s Day). Lucia is celebrated on December 13th (click here to find out more about this celebration) but these treats can be enjoyed at anytime as they can be frozen and reheated in the microwave. This recipe will make around 20 buns.
1 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp. saffron threads, finely crumbled (or 1 tsp. powdered saffron)
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 pkg. dry active yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs, well-beaten, plus one egg white
raisins or currants to decorate
Crumble saffron threads into the melted butter. Let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour to intensify the saffron flavour. Then heat the milk to a light boil, turning off heat when small bubbles begin to appear. Stir in melted butter, sugar, and salt. Pour mixture into a mixing bowl and allow to cool until it is cool enough to touch. Stir in yeast and let sit for 10 minutes.
Mix 3 1/2 cups of flour into liquid. Stir in two well-beaten eggs and add enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough. Make sure not to add to much flour. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and turn to coat all sides. Cover bowl with a clean towel and allow to rise until doubled (this should take about 1 hour).
Punch down risen dough. Lightly knead two or three times on a floured surface. Pinch off small handfuls of dough (about the size of a racquetball) and roll into “snakes”. Shape snakes into “S”-shaped buns or other desired shapes. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover with the towel, and allow to rise until doubled (about an hour).
Decorate buns with raisins, brush with egg white, and bake in preheated 375º oven about 15 minutes, just until brown. And your Lussekatter are ready!