Lussekatter are slightly sweet, incredibly soft and fluffy buns spiked with saffron and cardamom. They normally have raisins in them (or are at least decorated with one or two) and are glazed. I was going to glaze mine, but as you can see I forgot!
These are normally baked and consumed on December 13 (St. Lucia Day) which coincides with the darkest days of winter in Scandinavia. The saffron is supposed to symbolize fire (light) to help ward away evil (darkness).
For the recipe, please go to Lucullian Delights. Ilva hails from Sweden and I would consider her recipe to be very authentic. The only thing I deviated from was the amount of yeast I used. As I've mentioned before, don't be too fussy about the original amount of yeast you use. I used 5.5 x 2 = 11 g of dried yeast versus Ilva's 25 g of fresh yeast and it turned out fine.
Unless you are a baking fanatic, remember that yeast is bacteria and when you feed it, it propagates. A slightly lower dose or higher dose of yeast may only mean that it may take slightly longer or shorter for your dough to rise.
My reward for slaving in the kitchen making these? When Ronny came back from the gym and these were baking he said: It smells like my mother's house! Before he went to the gym, he did help me do the last stretch in kneading the dough, by the way - he's like my Kitchen Aid.
Note: I am going to copy the recipe here as I've noticed now (December 15, 2014) that bloggers keep changing their URLs and it gives me a brain hemorrhage to have to look for the new page. So here it is. I hope Ilva doesn't mind.
11 g Dried Yeast (5.5g x 2)
500 ml/2 1/2 Cups Milk
1g Saffron Powder
200 ml Sugar
1 Tsp Ground Cardamom
1/2 Tsp Salt
500 ml Flour/6.5 Cups Flour (approximately)
Step 1: Put yeast in a bowl with a little warm milk and let it activate.
Step 2: Add the sugar, caramom and saffron.
Step 3: Melt the butter in a pan, add the milk (not the one with the yeast in it). It should not be so hot that your finger burns.
Step 4: Pour this on the yeast and stir well.
Step 5: Add most of the flour and salt and knead well.
Step 6: Let it rise for 1 hour.
Step 7: Lay dough out on a table dusted with flour and knead it until smooth.
Step 8: Divide dough into balls slighter smaller than your fist and make 'serpents'.
Step 9: Put the Lussekatter on baking sheets with parchment paper and let them rise for about 40 minutes.
Step 10: Whisk the egg and glaze the buns
Step 11: Bake in a pre-heated oven at 225C/440F for 10 minutes.
Step 12: Leave them on a rack to cool.
*This recipe is from Lucullian Delights but certain elements have been eliminated. For the original recipe please go here.