Saturday, December 1, 2012

Saffron buns with gooey vanilla filling

Swedish christmas bread

Believe it or not, but saffron is more expensive than gold. This flavorful red delicacy is definitely not a cheap spice, but the good thing is that you only need small amounts of it when baking or cooking. For a long time it's been a Swedish tradition to use saffron in the baked goods that we usually eat around christmas. Instead of making "kanelbullar" (cinnamon rolls) for fika, we make "lussekatter" (saffron bread). We also use other exotic spices around christmas such as ginger, cloves and cinnamon. To make a batch of outstandingly delicious saffron buns like these, you will need 1,5 grams of saffron. It takes about two days to make these babies, but don´t worry, it will undoubtedly be worth it. Especially if you´ve never tasted anything like this before ;)

1. Preperation-dough (1 day before baking)

1,5 g saffron
650 g cold 2 % milk
900 g all purpose flour
75 g fresh yeast 

Mix the saffron with the milk, and then mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Cover up and place in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours in 4-8˚ C.

2. Dough

175 g butter
175 g sugar
20 g salt
125 g eggs
100 g high fat buttermilk (kesella)
1 tsp ground cardamom 
500 g all purpose flour

Take out the pre-dough from the refrigerator. It should have doubled in size over night. Mix the dough together with all the remaining ingredients (butter, sugar, salt, eggs, cardamom and flour). Work the dough in a kitchen aid for 15-20 minutes on medium speed. When the dough is done it should be elastic and shiny. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator to rise for at least 1 hour. 

3. Vanilla filling

200 g butter (room temperature)
110 g sugar
100 g almond paste (mandelmassa)
20 g all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1tbsp real vanilla bean paste or
1-2 tbsp vanilla powder
1 pinch of salt

To make the vanilla filling, just mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Make sure it tastes good :)

4. Make the buns

Divide the dough into 2. Take one piece of dough and use a rolling pin to flatten it out (so it becomes a rectangle, about 1 cm thick). Spread half of the filling evenly on half of the rectangle, and then fold over the other half. Cut 1-2 cm wide pieces using a knife. Cut each piece in half, leaving one part of it still attached. Twist both of the ends and form into a nice not. It´s a little tricky, but I usually just wing it and it always turns out good ( it should look a little bit authentic). Do the same with the remaining dough. Place the buns on a non stick baking sheet, cover and let them rise for 1-2 hours in room temperature. Turn the oven on 230˚ C/450˚ F. When the buns are finished rising, brush them with some whisked egg, sprinkle on some sugar (pärlsocker) and put them in the oven. Bake for 12-14  minutes until golden brown. 

Enjoy these baked treats with a cold glass of cold milk, hot cocoa or a cup of traditional "glögg" (spiced warm christmas wine that we traditionally drink around christmas in Sweden). 

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