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Catholic Recipe: St. Lucia Crown

    INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
  • pinch powdered saffron
  • 1/2 cup warm milk (105-115 degrees)
  • 2-2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • egg
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp. chopped candied citron
  • 3 tbsp. chopped almonds
  • 1/2 tbsp. grated lemon peel
  • green and red candied cherries
  • Details

  • Prep Time: 2 1/2 hours
  • Difficulty: • • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 15+
  • Origin: Sweden

This is a special feast day in Sweden, the beginning of Christmas celebrations, and the recipes are Swedish in origin.

It is the Swedish tradition to have the oldest girl wearing a white dress and crimson sash and stockings. She has a wreath crown with white lighted candles. At dawn she wakes up members of the family with coffee and Lussekakes, or some other favorite sweet rolls or bread.

Wearing lighted candles just seems to be an invitation to disaster, so substitute lighted candles and wreath with an electric battery operated wreath or make a bread in the shape of a ring and place candles in it.

DIRECTIONS

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Set aside for 5 minutes. Stir saffron into warm milk.

Combine 2 cups flour, saffron milk, sugar, salt, egg, and butter in mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. Stir in citron, almonds and lemon peel. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Keand on lightly floured surface until smooth — about 10 minutes.

Place in greased bowl, turning to coat top. Cover; let rise in warm place until double — about 1 hour. Punch down dough. Cut off 1/3 of dough for top braid and set aside. Divide remaining dough into thrids and roll each part into 24-inch rope. Braid and shape into circle. Pinch ends together to seal. Place on greased backing sheet.

Divide reserved dough into thirds and roll each until 15 inches long. Braid and shape into circle. Pinch ends together to seal. Place on another greased baking sheet. Cover; let rise in warm place until double — about 45 minutes. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven 25 mintues or until done. Cool on wire rack. When cool, make holes for 6 candles in small braid.

Make icing. Mix in a few more drops of water if too stiff. Make small braid on large braid. Drizzle icing on braid. Decorate with cherries. Insert candles.

Recipe Source: Festive Bread Book, The by Kathy Cutler, Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1982
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