14 December 2011

The Lussekatt of the Year


This was the title in my Mum's weekly magazine a few weeks back. These are the famous Swedish saffron buns. I've made these before on several occasions

But this recipe was well intriguing - combining the traditional ginger snap with the traditional saffron bun. So very appealing in my buzzword driven world at work - streamline Christmas into one easily manageable thing to eat.

Reading the details, it's actually not a straight forward combo of the two types of dough, but the ginger snappy bit is actually ground almonds mixed with the traditional spice mixture used for ginger snaps, orange zest and lots of sugar. However, as Doctor Cutie and Bip were invited and are allergic to nuts, I opted to leave out nuts completely and used sesame seeds instead. It worked a treat last year for my macaroons.


Main dough
150 g unsalted butter at room temperature
1.5 dl light syrup
5 dl full milk
50 g fresh yeast for sweet doughs
1 g ground saffron
0.5 tsp salt
1 medium egg
14 - 15 dl strong white flour

1 orange
1 dl raisins
200 g peeled sesame seeds
100 g butter
1 medium egg
1 dl granulated sugar
2 ml vanilla extract
1.5 tsp ground cardamom
0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
0.25 tsp ground cloves

Finishing touch
1 egg lightly whisked with a pinch of salt to use as egg wash.

  1. Make the egg wash first and let stand in room temperature until needed.

  2. Whisk together the butter and syrup until fluffy.

  3. Warm up the milk to 40 degrees C (warm to the touch).

  4. Crumble up the yeast in the bowl of your mixer, then pour the milk over it and stir to dissolve completely.

  5. Add the saffron to the yeast mixture, then follow with the egg and a couple of tablespoons of the butter mixture.

  6. Add 11 dl (that's eleven!) of the flour and mix quickly to a smooth and very soft dough.

  7. Cover the bowl and set aside to rest for about 40 minutes.

  8. Zest the orange and press out as much of the juice as possible afterwards.

  9. Place the orange juice in a small pot together with the raisins and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and let cool down, then blend to a smooth paste.

  10. Grind the sesame seeds as finely as possible.

  11. Combine all the filling ingredients to a paste.

  12. Go back to the resting main dough and add the remainder of the butter mixture and the rest of the flour and work to a smooth and elastic dough.

  13. Take out of the mixing bowl onto a floured surface and divide in two equal parts.

  14. Roll each half to a square of about 40 x 40 cm and spread out half of the filling over half of the square surface.

  15. Fold the dough over so that the filling ends up in the middle, then cut strips of about 2 cm width.

  16. Line 3 large sheets with baking paper. Form S shapes from the strips by standing them on one of the long cut edges, so that the layers are visible. Place on the sheets, but not too close together.

  17. Once a sheet is full, brush with the egg wash, cover with cling film and set aside to proof until double in size, about 30 minutes.

  18. Pre-heat the oven to 225 degrees C and bake in the middle until golden brown, about 10 - 13 minutes.

  19. When done, remove from the oven and let cool on a rack.

These are best served on the same day as they are made. They ended up fairly big, which my Dad liked, as they were closer to the size of the ones you get in the shops, rather than the tiny ones my Mum normally makes. Another benefit was that the technique of rolling out the dough made the process of shaping so much faster than the normal one, where the dough needs to be rolled into strips, cut to a good length and then shaped.

I served these at my glögg party, but along everything else that was very sweet, I don't think I did any one any favours. I haven't adjusted the amounts above. Also a word of warning on the light syrup. This is the stuff that is sold in Swedish shops and can be replaced by liquid glucose I guess. In the UK I would have used golden syrup, but that is very much sweeter than the Swedish stuff, so I would have reduced the amount by quite a bit.

For some reason my Dad didn't like the final result, he thought it tasted funny. But it seems he is alone in this, I thought they were lovely and it seems that others thought so too. Though they did end up rather sweet and next time I should reduce the amount of sugar in both the paste and the main dough. I did take some to work along with brioches and the lussekatter disappeared a lot quicker than the brioches, despite my boss' heroic work on the brioches. I think he put away 3 with clotted cream and jam.

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