It is soon 13:th December and Lucia here in Sweden. And what is a “must” is “Lussebullar” or St Lucia Saffron Rolls. In the morning of Lucia I always gave my daughter these for breakfast. Usually we also have these for coffeebreaks around at workplaces and even at home this day. The kids will go in “Luciatåg” and sing and eat Luciabuns, in schools, in daycare, everywhere. It is also most often served with “Glögg”. There are many recipes but I like this one with the Kesella, which makes them moist and very good. Something that also makes them great is the best saffron with whole pistils that you crush yourself. It is hard to find in the stores.. Ordinary saffron that is powdered works great too.
To get the most out of your saffron crush the saffron together with a little sugar in a mortel. Add a little (2 tbs) fingerwarm milk to the saffron and let it rest for a while, even till the next day if you have time and you will get the most out of the saffron flavor in your buns. Otherwise just follow the recipe. I am all prepared for Lucia with the Luciabuns I made! And enough to last over Christmas.
Saffron Rolls is eaten through out the whole Advent time which is from 4 Sundays before Christmas. What is also common is to make the Saffron Cringle or Advent Cringle or Adventskrans as it is called in Swedish and Norwegian. So baking this time I took one part of the dough to make Cringle and 2 parts to make the Luciarolls.
About 35 buns if you use all the dough. If you want to make a Cringle as well divide the dough into three parts and make one into a Cringle and the others to about 11 (12) Luciarolls each
- 5 dl milk
- 50g yeast
- 1 1/2 dl sugar
- 1 g saffron
- 17 dl unbleached all-purpose flour, or more as needed
- 1/2-1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 250 g kesella
- 150 g butter
- 1/4 cup dark raisins
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten for eggwash
1. Heat the milk in a small saucepan just until warm. Remove from the heat. Combine 1 dl of the milk, the yeast, and a pinch of the sugar in a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes, or until bubbly. Combine another 2 tablespoons of the milk, 1 teaspoon of the sugar, and the saffron in a small bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Set the remaining milk aside. Melt the butter and cool down.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together 4 cups of the flour, the remaining sugar, the cardamom, and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture, the dissolved saffron, and the remaining milk, kesella and melted butter. Stir with a wooden spoon, gradually adding more flour as necessary, until a soft dough forms.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding just a little more flour if necessary, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the dough is smooth, shiny , and elastic.
4. Shape the dough into a ball. Put it in a large, lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat, and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.
5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down the dough and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into a log and divide it into 35 equal pieces. Shape each piece into Luciabuns, ”eights” as in picture and place the rolls apart on the prepared baking sheet. Wash with eggwash. Garnish with raisins. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 20 minutes, or until almost doubled in size.
6. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Celcius.
7. Bake the rolls for 5-8 minutes, until golden or until the bottom of a roll sounds hollow when rapped with your knuckles. Remove from the oven. Let cool on a rack.
Adventskrans (Advent Cringle)
You make it from the same dough. Roll is out with a rolling pin and spread butter and suger över the whole. Some even spread raisins and/or pistagenuts and marzinpan. I made it simple this time with just butter and sugar. Roll it up like a snake and make a ring. Place the ring on a bakingtray on parchment paper. And than you cut. Start from one place and go in one direction as you cut all around. Fold the cut parts to each side to make the leaf formation. Do this around the whole. My mother taught me to make this kind of Cringle which is called Bladkrans in Norwegian when you make the leaf shape. A Cringle could even be braided.
Let the Cringle rise for another 20 minutes. Brush with eggwash and sprinkle pearlsugar over before baking. The heat of the oven should be 200 Celsius Degrees and the baking time about 20 minutes. It should be golden brown. Ovens vary so just try to watch your Cringle and adjust the time if needed.