December 17, 2013

A saffron cinnamon wreath and saffron buns

I realize that this post is a few days late. But you know what? Lussekatter can be eaten throughout December, not just on St. Lucia day which is December 13th. No, Lucia day is more an excuse to eat as many as you want.
On another note, it's a real struggle to take photos for the blog these days. And the light is just weird (excuse my purple hands above, they're not purple IRL, I promise).
Oh, and the rain. It rains every day! I just wish it would snow.

So, I made two types of Christmas wreaths this year. One edible and one "real" with evergreens. The edible one is definitely not for hanging up on the wall. It just looks real pretty served with the ribbon. It's so good I can't even handle it. It's like if the cinnamon bun and the saffron bun would have a baby together. Yes, it's that good.

This year I was a bit lazy not making my own gingerbread cookie dough. That's ok though. There is this cute little bakery, Feldt's, just a 10 minute walk from my home. They make the best buns and sourdough bread ever. This year they also made gingerbread cookie dough and I knew I had to try it. It's delicious, lots of flavor and not as sweet as store-bought cookies.

Saffron and cinnamon wreath
Makes 1 wreath

This recipe is adapted from my cinnamon bun recipe, and is somewhere in-between two Swedish favorites - the cinnamon bun and the "lussekatt" ("Lucia cat", or just saffron bun). I've added just a hint of orange just because I love it, but I still wanted the cinnamon and saffron to be the stars. If you want the orange flavor to be more noticeable use zest from 1 whole orange. 

12 g fresh yeast
40 g butter
1/2 cup (125 ml) milk
1/2 g saffron
25 g granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cardamom, coarsely ground
200 g all purpose flour

50 g softened butter
25 g granulated sugar
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom, finely ground
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
Zest from 1/2-1 orange
Pinch of salt

Egg wash
1 egg, lightly beaten with a splash of cream or milk and a pinch of salt

Granulated sugar, to sprinkle

1. Sprinkle yeast into a large bowl.
2. Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add milk and saffron and heat until approximately 37°C (98.5F), remove from heat and pour over the sprinkled yeast. Stir until dissolved. When yeast is completely dissolved, add sugar, salt cardamom and flour.
3. Work the dough until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes with machine or 10 minutes by hand. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise until doubled in size, about 60-90 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, mix the ingredients for the filling and set aside.
5. When dough is ready, roll it out into a large rectangle on a lightly floured surface. The dough should measure about 55 x 27 cm (approx 21.6 x 10.6 inches).
Spread with filling and roll it into a log lengthwise (which means you'll have a 55 cm long log).
6. Transfer log onto a cutting board if needed. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, split the dough in half lengthwise (which means you'll end up with two long strips of dough, still 55 cm long with the inside layers "exposed").
7. Put the two layers next to each other with the "exposed" part up. Join the top of the two pieces  together, then start twisting the two lengths together (imagine doing a braid with just two strands.. or you could just twist..).
8. Transfer "braid" onto baking paper and shape it into a wreath by joining the two ends together. Slide the baking paper onto a baking tray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 200°C (392F).
9. Lightly brush wreath with egg wash. Sprinkle some granulated sugar on top. Bake at 200°C in the lower part of the oven for about 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Good old Swedish "lussekatter"
Makes 30-40

Traditionally shaped into an S-shape, but you can make them any shape you want! 
If you feel like making them in the traditional manner, the trick is to roll them out really long to make them extra "swirly". Some people soak the raisins in water or mulled wine before putting them on the buns to keep them from drying out the bread.
If buns feel dry, reheat slightly in the oven or in the microwave and they'll become moist and delicious again!

50 g fresh yeast
200 g butter
1 gram saffron (2 envelopes)
300 ml milk
200 ml heavy cream
185 g granulated sugar
1 large egg
900-960 g all purpose flour

3/4 tsp salt

Egg wash
1 egg, lightly beaten with a splash of cream or milk and a pinch of salt



1. Crumble yeast into a large bowl.
2. Melt the butter, add saffron, milk and cream and heat until approximately 37°C (98.5F) Add a little of the liquid to the yeast and stir until it has dissolved, then add the rest of the liquid.
3. Add the egg and sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the flour and salt and work into a smooth dough (about 10 minutes by hand). It should still be a little bit sticky (but manageable!). Leave the dough to rise, covered with a cloth, for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.
4. Now it's time to shape lussekatter! Divide the dough into equally large portions and shape each bun like an "S". The trick is to roll them out really long to make them extra swirly. Transfer buns onto baking paper. Leave some space between them as they will rise even more. Put two raisins in each bun (as pictured).
5. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise for 45 minutes.
6. Brush buns lightly with egg wash. Bake in the middle of the oven at 250°C (480F) for about 7-9 minutes or until golden brown, depending on the size of the buns.
7. Let cool. Enjoy! Remember to freeze leftovers immediately or they will become dry very fast.

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  1. This looks AMAZING! I love to make little cinnamon/cardamom rolls in a similar way, but would've never thought of this. So lovely!

  2. Wow everything looks so beautiful, lussekatter are on my list, but the list is so long...

  3. This is perfect. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Linda!

  4. Underbart vackert!!! Traditionellt och modernt på samma gång :)

  5. wow, it just looks so beautiful and sooooo good!! you really are an artist!

  6. love the "two types of wreaths", linda! love both the wreaths and the cinnamon bun and saffron having a baby reference... haha! perfect! your town sounds like my town - rain, when i wish it would snow, too!

    beautiful photos as ALWAYS, lady. didn't even notice the purple hands at all, just the gorgeous saffron cinnamon wreath and wicked styling! xo

  7. Beautiful red and delicious pics!

  8. So beautiful Linda! That saffron wreath is to die for!

  9. And I have to agree on the light - it really bugs me these days… Today I managed to get like one (!) hour of good light to take a few shots. Snow would be nice...

  10. I have no words. You're the best.
    Merry Christmas!
    Regards from Barcelona!

  11. Great great great photos!!! I can't wait until I can get your books in Poland! I'm your big fan :) Merry Christmas!

  12. I am always so impressed with your photos and the desserts you make, you are an artist Linda! Love, love, love your work! Have wonderful holidays and Merry Christmas!

  13. Oh I can't wait to make this. It's too beautiful not to!

  14. Oh gosh amazing photos! And I'll definitely try your recipe :) Happy Holidays!

  15. Beautiful! I made cinnamon wreth recently and it was really delicious :)

  16. They look delicious! I'll definitely have to try them! and what about those fantastic cookies? are they gingerbread?
    Happy holidays and Merry Christmas! :-)

  17. This is WONDERFUL! Just found your blog. I'm won over. ;) This is such a great idea... unfortunately I've got no space in my tiny little university dwelling this year, but I'm cataloguing for next year ;)

    Kate x


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