Catholic Recipe: Lussekake
Also Called: St. Lucy's Cake
For the feast of St. Lucy or Lucia on December 13 in Sweden, centuries ago, it was the rule that all work for the holidays must be finished before the break of dawn on the 13th. Often work went on all night, and at five in the morning, young girls were sent through the streets with breakfast for the workers. They wore white gowns and wreaths of candles on their heads to light the way. "Star boys" went with them, carrying torches; small "baker boys" followed with sweet buns, and little tots, dressed in red to represent the good and gay Christmas spirits who appear only on this day, wound up the procession. Here is the recipe your teen-age daughter may want to try. Just ask her not to light the candles in that wreath.
Pour boiling water on saffron and let stand. Add yeast to 1/4 cup of warm water, stirring until dissolved. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put butter or margarine, sugar, and salt in large bowl, add scalded milk, and stir until butter melts. Let stand until lukewarm and then blend in 1 cup of the flour. Beat smooth. Add yeast and mix well. Add about half the remaining flour and beat smooth. Beat in saffron-water mixture and egg. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn out on floured board. Let "rest" 5 to 10 minutes. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise in warm place until doubled, approximately 1 hour. Punch down. Make each bun with 2 strips of dough, 4 inches long and 1/4 inch in diameter. Form each strip into an S, coiling the ends snail fashion. Place one diagonally across the other, pressing together in center. Place a raisin in center of each coil. Cover and let rise until doubled. Bake at 375° for 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 24 buns.Recipe Source: Cook's Blessings, The by Demetria Taylor, Random House, New York, 1965