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Lussekatter (St. Lucia Buns)

St. Lucy's day marks the opening of the Christmas season in Sweden. Lussekatter are their delicious saffron buns made in any number of figures: cats, "s" shapes, or figure eights.
Servings: 10 buns

Ingredients

  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 8 ounces 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 ounces 1 stick butter
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 1 beaten egg white for egg wash

Instructions

  • METHOD
  • Using a mortar and pestle, pound saffron threads to break down strands.
  • In a small saucepan, heat milk to lukewarm.
  • Mix yeast with 1/4 cup milk and 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside.
  • On low heat, melt butter in saucepan with milk. Add crushed saffron. Let cool.
  • In large bowl, mix together flour salt and remaining sugar.
  • Stir yeast into cooled milk mixture. Mix into dry ingredients, beating to mix well. Add beaten eggs. Knead in bowl for 5 - 7 minutes. Turn onto floured board and knead another 7 - 8 minutes.
  • Put dough in lightly greased bowl, turn to coat all sides, cover and put in warm, draft-free place to rise for about 1 hour.
  • When dough has risen, knead lightly to push out air and divide into small pieces (about 10 - 12). Using the hands, roll each small piece into a strip about 8 - 10 inches long. Shape each strip into an 'S' or a figure 8. Place on lightly buttered cookie sheets.
  • Cover with clean cloth and let rise again until double in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • When dough has risen, brush lightly with egg white. Bake in preheated 375° F oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool on wire rack.

Notes

Yield: 10 - 12 buns