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The Hungry Traveller

Passport & Plate - St. Lucia Saffron Buns (Lussekatts)

Sweden | Tuesday, 3 March 2015 | 3 photos

This is not the exact traditional Swedish recipe as some ingredients are slightly vary
200 g unsalted butter, plus extra, to serve
450 ml milk
50 g fresh yeast, finely crumbled
1 egg, plus 1 extra, lightly beaten, to brush
3/4 cup caster sugar
¼ tsp saffron threads, finely chopped
6 Cups plain flour
About 85 g raisins


How to prepare this recipe
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add milk and heat until lukewarm.
Pour mixture into a large bowl and add yeast, stirring to dissolve. Add egg, sugar, saffron and 1 tsp salt. Gradually add flour, stirring constantly, until mixture forms a smooth dough that comes away from the side of the bowl; don’t worry if dough is sticky. Cover bowl with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm, draught-free place for 45 minutes or until dough doubles in size.
Punch down dough and knead on a lightly floured work surface for 30 seconds or until smooth. Divide into 4, then divide each piece into 8. Shape each piece into a 20 cm length, then form into an S shape, tucking ends into dough to form an 8 shape, and pressing to join. Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm, draught-free place for another 40 minutes or until slightly risen.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Place a raisin into each circle created by the 8 shape, then brush with beaten egg. Bake buns for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with butter.


The story behind this recipe
In 2012 I was lucky enough to be chosen to represent Australia as a International Rotary Youth Exchange student which lead me to travel to a country i had no idea about, which was Sweden. Funnily enough, i chose Sweden as i had no idea about the country except that it seemed to be polar opposite of Australia. It was and still is the best year of my life.

My first week in Sweden, i attended a language school, in this tiny town of Mullsjö. Here we learnt all about Sweden, played in the snow ( which for me was the first time ever), struggled to be warm in the 'normal' below zero temperature, adjust to the darkness and eat Swedish food. Although i tried many Swedish cuisines that week, the one that stuck with me most was the Saffron Buns. They were such a vibrant yellow and the taste was so obscure that i loved it. Not only was this one of my favourite baked goods in Swede but, what it represented also made it extra special. Now, I'm one for celebrations, so to hear that Saffron buns were apart of a celebration made me even more happier to eat it!

Saffron buns are sweet yeast rolls that are apart of Christmas and are made in conjunction with the St. Lucia celebration. This is where a girl is chosen nationally and within each town to be the face of a national celebration. She must be able to sing and normally have the appearance of a Swedish girl ( blonde, blue eyed and incredibly beautiful) Like gingerbread, it is a Christmas cuisine that is loved dearly by the nation and in my case, a very cold foreigner that loves baked goods. The S shaped bun are made with saffron and dotted with a raisin and have an odd texture.

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