This is a really special post, because it comes directly from Sweden. I have a couple of very good old Swedish friends. One of them, Anneli Prestfeldt, in Karlstad, did me a royal favor. She sent me some photos and her bread recipe for St. Lucia Day Buns, that I have been dreaming of trying since I was a little girl. In Sweden, the 13th of December is a holiday. St. Lucia day. It involves a little blond girl in a white dress wearing a wreath with candles in it on her head, delivering bread rolls called Lussekatter early in the morning. It is a rather distinct holiday to Sweden, a place I spent a little time some years back. I was not fortunate enough to be there for this holiday though.
Now for Anneli’s recipe….. They look so good don’t they? Hey Sweden, this is a great cultural tradition! You won’t mind if I borrow it will you? Much love from Boston!
So this version is for and I quote our uhhm “silly American System.” Which when compared to the European model actually really is quite silly…. Brought to you all directly from Sweden:
Ingredients for saffron dough Silly American System
Ok! Edited version! The one that will actually be functional for those of us dealing in cups. Because as great as that list above is, not so functional…. But I wanted to include it because it shows just what an authentic Swedish recipe this is that it translates to that directly from the Swedish and because it prolly took my friend some time to figure all that out. Now we round it out and make it useable for us Americans who don’t measure quite the same way!
And now how you prepare it:
Crumble the yeast in a dough bowl.
Melt the fat (i.e. butter or margarine) in a saucepan. Add the milk, stir and heat to 37 °C (lukewarm).
Pour some of degspadet (i.e. milk and the melted fat) over the yeast and stir until dissolved.
Add the rest of degspadet, cream cheese/Quark, eggs, saffron, sugar and salt. Work then by machine or by hand in most of the flour so that the dough releases easily from the edges and is smooth. Cover the bowl with a towel and let rise about 30 minutes.
Put the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Knead it smooth and shiny. Split it into five parts. Then bake out 10 buns of each part, by rolling out each small part to about 20 cm and then shape into a lussekatt (Lucia bun). Put the Lucia buns on sheets of baking paper and press in raisins properly. Let ferment for bakhandduk until doubled in size about 20-30 minutes.
Brush the bread with beaten egg.
Bake Lucia buns in the oven at 225 ° C for about 8-10 minutes
Let cool in a towel. Store in plastic bag or freeze.
For me, far more amusing than any white dressed little girl with fire sitting on her head running around with a basket of buns during the dark days of winter, is seeing how a Swede, takes an old and well cherished Swedish traditional recipe and translates it for all of us considering how it translates when done exactly. I can’t imagine the headaches it must have caused her. And though it amuses me to no end I realize it was the ultimate act of friendship to go to all that trouble Tack så mycket, Anneli and happy St. Lucia day to you and your adorable son and your family! Happy St. Lucia Sweden, and Tack så mycket, for creating such a great recipe for little bread rolls that I can not wait to try!
Side note, I claim NO ownership of these photos they were gathered and taken by a friend in Sweden who retains all rights to them and for sharing of them you would have to talk to her, also the recipe is not mine nor did I have any hand in even doing the math to make it usable kiitos Antti, for that. (We say “Tack så mycket,” to Swedes. For Finns, we say kiitos, for Norwegians we say what we say to Swedes we just make sure it is spelled wrong.) I claim no ownership of this traditional Swedish recipe it belongs to Sweden and I am so grateful, for the privilege of getting to make these bread rolls now for myself and to share them here so that they may be enjoyed by an even larger population of food curious people.