Lussekatter are Swedish saffron buns made with a brioche-type enriched dough. They are traditionally made for advent, and especially eaten on December 13th (Saint Lucy’s Day). But don’t let that stop you, they are delicious any day.
Making the snake shapes is quite a bit of work, so if you’re not up to that, make them round instead. Or play around with some other shapes.
Lussekatter (makes 20)
Slightly adapted from Joe Pastry
0,5 g saffron threads (not needed, but the buns will be paler without saffron)
225 g milk
500 g flour
60 g sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 sachet dry yeast
115 g quark, room temperature (or use mascarpone, crème fraîche or sour cream as substitution)
50 g soft butter
egg wash (use a yolk for the best colour and shine)
Crush the saffron threads. Warm the milk to just simmerring and add the saffron. Stir it, then leave to cool to lukewarm.
Meanwhile, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add the milk and quark. Stir with a spoon until roughly mixed, then dump out onto your workbench and knead for about 7 minutes, until a smooth and supple dough forms. Then add the butter about a tablespoon at a time until it is all incorporated. Alternatively, use a standing mixer with a dough hook.
Place the dough in a large bowl, cover and let it rise for 45-60 minutes, or until doubled in size. Dump out onto your workbench and cut into 20 pieces. Roll out into snakes (about 35 cm), flatten slightly with your hands or a rolling pin, then roll one end inwards to about halfway, turn the whole thing over and roll the other end inwards – you’re making an S shape. Or, if you don’t have much time, just shape them into little balls. Place onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper, to proof for 30 minutes. Halfway, brush with the egg-wash and preheat the oven to 240C. Brush the buns again before baking. Bake 8-12 minutes.
They are best freshly baked, but the day after they are still delicious. After that, they get a bit stale.