June 24, 2018
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Celebrate a Scandinavian St. Lucy’s with buns

By Sandy Oliver Special to the News, Special to the BDN

Mainer Louanne Littlefield, still a neighbor of mine last year at this time before she and her husband Steve struck out on new adventures in Louisiana, passed this recipe along to me. St. Lucy’s Day is coming up next weekend on Dec. 13, and whether you are descended from a Scandinavian — and Maine is full of us — and whether you observe St. Lucy’s Day as many do in this state, you might enjoy the Lussekatter or St. Lucia Buns that follow. You can also form it into loaves as Louanne did. She reported the breads made a hit at Christmas dinner.

My grandmother was born in Sweden and came to this country when she was 6 years old. I don’t ever remember these buns or breads in our immediate family’s holiday celebration, but I have a vague recollection of them at my gram’s youngest brother’s house. Uncle Frank’s wife used to have saffron flavored and colored holiday treats. The saffron is definitely a must. In fact, it is practically the whole point.

St. Lucia Buns

Yields about two dozen buns.

2 packages active dry yeast

½ cup warm water (105-115 degrees)

ª cup lukewarm milk (scalded then cooled)

½ cup sugar

½ cup butter, softened

2 eggs

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon powdered saffron

5-5½ cups all purpose flour

Raisins for garnish

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 tablespoon water

Sugar for sprinkling

Dissolve the yeast in warm water in a large bowl. Stir in milk, sugar, butter, eggs, cardamom, salt, saffron and three cups of the 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, curling in both ends. Put a raisin in the center of each curl. Place rolls on greased cookie sheet. Brush tops lightly with butter; let rise until doubled. Mix the egg and the tablespoon of water; brush buns lightly with the mixture. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Looking for …

Thinking of Scandinavian Christmas reminds me of the lovely holiday beverage I’ve had here and there from time to time, Glogg. If someone had a good recipe for that, I’d love to hear about it.

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