Okay, for breakfast blogging I made the theme to be "Ethnic Dishes with a Twist", the twist being that everyone should make a breakfast recipe from another culture, country, or ethnicity than their own. Everybody else has been doing a great job with this event and I finally had time tonight to complete mine. I couldn't decide what to do at first. One of my ideas was to make congee just because I see it on the menu of every big city hotel we stay in where there's a high percentage of Asian tourists. Then I read a recipe and found that it's basically a rice porridge. That's fine. Actually, I love rice for breakfast with just a little butter and milk on it. I know that's not the same thing but somewhere along the line I lost my enthusiasm.
My other idea was to look up into my own family tree. I'm Swedish/Norwegian on both sides but we have no Scandinavian hand-me down food traditions and that makes me a little sad. I decided to make my own. Ever since elementary school when I first heard of St. Lucia Day, I've been been wanting to wear lit candles in my hair. After all, I am the oldest girl of family. But amazingly, Mom and Dad weren't real hip on that whole fire on my head in the wee hours of the morning while I'm baking bread thing. I don't know why.
But I'm an adult now so I can wear lit candles in my hair if I want to. The problem is that now that I'm adult the idea has lost its appeal. But not the thought of the St. Lucia buns. I don't have a lot of practice with saffron but I do use and love cardamom, my favorite Scandinavian spice. Put the two together and I call that Good Eats or Yumm-o or some other phrase that isn't already in the lexicon by people who might possibly sue me for using their trademark phrase.
St. Lucia (Sankta Lucia) Day marks the beginning of the Christmas season on December 13th. Sure, I'm a little early but let's call this a practice run. The tradition is for the eldest daughter in the family to serve saffron buns to her family while wearing a white dress with red sash and a crown of candles. It's a romantic tradition if not particularly approved of by Smokey the Bear.
My saffron buns didn't come out exactly as I would have liked them. They're a little overdone but they still tasted good. Thankfully, Gene smelled them and pulled them out of the oven for me. You know that children's book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day"? Well that was my day yesterday. I made the lussekatter tonight to try to distract myself from the fact that I'm having big trouble with my knees (now both) again in the form of some very wicked fluid retention on both and pain going with it. But, I was able to get into my primary care doc today so hopefully he'll be able to figure it out and fix it.
This is what the buns are supposed to look like:
Quite a bit lighter than mine and without the weird plumped up black raisins. I have NO idea what that was all about but the buns still tasted good once we knocked the demonic looking raisins off so what the hell. We'll eat these up and next time, like December 13th, when I make them again, I'll be less distracted and pull them quicker from the oven.
The recipe follows.
St. Lucia Buns/Lussekatter
from the mini cookbook Splendid Swedish Recipes by Kerstin Olsson Van Gilder
2 pkgs active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
2/3 cup lukewarm milk (scalded then cooled)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp powdered saffon
5-5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins
1 Egg, slightly beaten
1 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp sugar
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in milk, sugar, butter, 2 eggs, cardamom, salt, saffron, and 3 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until double. Punch down dough; divide into 24 parts. Shape each piece into an S-shaped rope; curve both ends into a coil. Place a raisin the center of each coil. Place rolls on greased cookie sheet. Brush tops lightly with butter; let rise until doubled. Mix 2 egg and 1 tbsp water, brush buns light. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Makes 24 buns.