Back in the day when I first made St Lucia Saffron Buns, they were not really that popular on the blogosphere, let alone gluten-free versions. In order to make them, I relied heavily on Skype conversations with wonderful swedish Uncles (just in case you’re reading Unc 😉 ) and swedish cookbooks. Things have moved along since then and Saffron buns seem to be the in thing. Yep, if Paul Hollywood’s doing em, you know you’re on to a winner! Having said that I actually started making them waaay before Mr Hollywood to coincide with St Lucia Day on the 13th, but I thought I’d rather post it later and be happy with my recipe than rush and end up regretting it. Six days later…. I wouldn’t say I’m 100% happy but I’m pretty close.
My main problem is that I’ve never tasted a St Lucia bun, as I tend to go to Sweden at the start of the year or just before summer. I’m an expert of Swedish Easters but have never been for Christmas, so I was beyond thrilled when I found out TotallySwedish were selling a gluten free version, but alas, I got there too late and all stock was sold out.
I was more than gutted, it seems they didn’t order a large supply and when the original order was finished, there weren’t any provisions made for new stock, so I’ll have to wait another year to taste them 😦 but I didn’t let that deter me I decided to give it another go nonetheless
I researched a ridiculous amount, by reading what seemed like a hundred recipes in English and Swedish (Thank you Google Translate) and I now know an unhealthy amount of information about the best ways to use and extract saffron, how to know you’ve bought good quality, prices and all the rest of it. I am a self-confessed saffron expert. I played around with gluten-free tried and tasted sweet yeasted bun recipes that had worked for me in the past, added more butter for more of a brioche like taste, included a liquid in addition to the milk to make the dough softer and easier to translate to gluten-free and added the wonder ingredient fibrex for added elasticity. I feel a bit like the mad scientist cos I could easily see myself tinkering with this again and Paul’s gluten take on it, has give me some new ideas. So enjoy the fruit of my labour dear readers till next year. Better late than never!
St Lucia Saffron Buns/Lussekatter
- 75g/5 1/2 tbsps of butter
- 300 ml whole milk
- 50ml/3 1/2tbsps quark or greek yoghurt
- 1/2 tsp of sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp of yeast
- 2 tsps of psyllium husk/Fiberhusk
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 0.5g/1 tsp of saffron split into 1 (0.25/1/2 tsp & 0.25g/ 1/2tsp)
- 120g/ 1/2 a cup of granulated sugar
- 480g/ 2 1/2 cups of all purpose gluten free flour
Boil milk until steaming then leave to cool until lukewarm Steep 0.25g/1 /2 tsp of saffron in the steamed lukewarm milk overnight
The next day Mix 2 cups of flour and yeast together Make a well in the middle of the bowl. Pour into milk mixture with egg, quark and butter.
Beat until smooth and sticky. Add Fiberhusk and whisk again.
Put in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling-film.
Leave to rise for one hour.
After an hour. Add 1/2 a cup of flour, sugar, salt and mix until smooth and elastic, then add the remaining 0.25g/ 1/2 tsp of saffron and knead it into the dough with your hands (You could crush it in a pestle and mortar with the sugar first to add more saffron flavour, but I wanted the saffron threads to show so didn’t).
Divide dough into 12 balls and cover pieces with oiled clingfilm while rolling so they don’t dry out.
Take each ball one by one and roll into a sausage 30cm long then roll one end to the middle, then the other end to the middle so it forms an S shape. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F Add a raisin and in each curled section of the S
Once shaped, place on to baking paper and leave to prove for an hour. Bake for 15 minutes then eat once completely cooled (I tried to warm them up the next day but it doesn’t work. The texture hardens so don’t make too many in one go and eat them on day of baking). Enjoy!