Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Countdown 13: Lussekatter

http://webclipart.about.com/od/events/ss/Saint-Lucias-Day_2.htm
If your background is Scandanavian, today you are celebrating St Lucia's Day - an important Christmas celebration . St Lucia was a young Christian girl who was martyred, killed for her faith, in 304AD. The most common story told about St Lucia is that she would secretly bring food to the persecuted Christians in Rome, who lived in hiding in the catacombs under the city. She would wear candles on her head so she had both her hands free to carry things. Lucy means 'light' so this is a very appropriate name. St. Lucia's Day is now celebrated by a girl dressing in a white dress with a red sash round her waist and a crown of candles on her head. Small children use electric candles but from about 12 years old, real candles are used!   (from http://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/sweden.shtml) 
If you follow Swedish Christmas traditions, your eldest daughter would have brought you saffron and cinnamon  infused buns called lussekatter for breakfast this morning. I am not Swedish, but can vouch for the beautiful texture and taste of these buttery buns, although I am told that the mixture can become very dense if an incorrect amount of butter is used, and/or if the yeast does not rise properly. Although this recipe suggests dried yeast, fresh yeast is often called for in traditional recipes. 
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Lussekatter - Ingredients 
Preparation method
  • 1.     Grease a baking tray. Soak the saffron in the milk for 5-10 minutes.
  • 2.     Combine the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Stir the melted butter into the milk and saffron mixture and pour into the well. Add the Quark cheese.
  • 3.    Stir together briefly, then bring together as a dough. Knead on a floured surface for 10 minutes, or until smooth. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place for 1½-hour until well risen
  • 4.     Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
  • 5.     Knock back the dough and divide into 12 pieces. Roll each into a rectangle about 20cm/8in long. Twist each into an 'S' shape, as tight as possible. Place on the prepared baking sheet and cover loosely. Leave for 30-45 minutes or until puffed up.
  • 6.     Brush the rolls with the egg yolk, then place one raisin in the centre of each circle (two raisins per roll).
  • 7.     Bake the rolls for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack.) 
       Delicious with a cuppa - not just for St Lucia Day - any day! 

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