Ask the 8 year old what her future Master Mind subject might be, and I would hazard a guess it might be different celebrations and festivals. Whether it’s because she is exposed to so many (yesterday she bought home a dradel, I actually had no idea what one looked like) and has a learned affinity, or perhaps it’s because she has a natural leaning towards anthropology, who knows? Whatever the reason, she actually knows an awful lot more about such things than I do…
On my recent Aebleskiver making day, I learned that the Swedish celebration of Saint Lucia was on December 13th, and madam completely surprised me with how much she already knew about it… Luckily granny was still staying with us, so she came up with the goods in the form of a home made headdress, and I found a few Christmas candle holders and a few tiny white candles. For health and safety reasons, we ignored the pleas of her younger brother for the candles to be lit on the headdress itself whilst it was on her head, and she was instead content to hold a fairly chubby lit candle, and pose for a photo…
Apparently the one bit about the tradition she’s not overly keen on is the bit about the eldest daughter serving the rest of the family breakfast on St. Lucia Day, in the form of coffee, chocolate and Lucia Buns (although she was happy to wear the headdress whilst eating her cornflakes this morning!) which is a shame, because I made the buns just in case…. (and I took the series of pics above to prove it as they are for sale in the freezers of a certain blue and yellow scandinavian household furniture company right now, and I wouldn’t want you thinking I had been cheating now would I?!)…
As with the aebleskiver, I slightly adapted the recipe from my beloved copy of The Scandinavian Cook Book. Seriously, if you don’t own a copy, do put one on your Christmas list…
Swedish Lucia Bread (makes 10-12)
20g fresh yeast (or dried equivalent),
250ml warm (not hot) milk,
100g butter melted,
500g plain flour,
half teaspoon of salt,
50g caster sugar,
- Crumble (or dissolve the dried yeast) the yeast into the warm milk, add the saffron and the melted butter and stir through;
- Sift together the flour and salt, and then add the sugar and raisins;
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and stir until the dough comes away from the edge of the bowl;
- Knead on a floured surface (or in a food mixer) for 10 minutes;
- Place the dough back into a bowl and leave to rise for an hour and a half at room temperature;
- Knock the dough back, and lightly knead again.
- Divide into 10-12 equal sections, and roll into sausage shapes around 20cm long.
- Curl one side in one direction, and the other side in the other until you get a shape a bit like a number 8 (or a fat snowman according to “Saint Lucia”);
- We like our Saint Lucia buns with a few more raisins, but they don’t usually contain so many, if you like to follow tradition though, place a raisin at the centre of each “swirl”…
- Place spaced out on a lined baking tray, cover with a slightly damp tea towel, and leave again for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 180DegC;
- Brush the buns with beaten egg and bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Leave to cool, slice in half and spread with butter. Serve in lieu of your own household’s “Saint Lucia” who claims she is on strike.