Saffranslängd eller saffranskrans (Sweden)
I think this is a more modern variation on the classic Saint Lucy’s Day Saffron Buns. Generally speaking, the traditional ones could have been shaped into braids and wreaths too, but they were never filled. It’s common today to find a sort of hybridization of the kind of wreaths and braids using the traditional saffron dough, which is used in the Saint Lucy’s Day buns in pastry shops and bakeries.
Preparation and cooking time: 2 hours
Infusing time: overnight
Rising time: 11⁄2 hours
Makes: 2 braids or wreaths
You Will Need
Add the saffron to the vodka and leave to infuse for at least an hour.
Meanwhile, make the dough. Melt the butter in a pan, add the milk and heat to body temperature (37°C/98.6°F). Dissolve the yeast in the milk and butter mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the salt, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and most of the flour and work with the dough hook for 5–10 minutes. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and leave the dough to rise for 1 hour.
Stir the butter with the remaining sugar in a bowl until fluffy, then add the egg and the saffron and vodka infusion and stir. When the dough has finished rising, add the saffron and butter mix and the rest of the flour while working the dough with the dough hook in the stand mixer.
Make the filling by creaming the butter, sugar and almond paste together in a bowl.
Roll the dough out into a rectangle of 40 x 60 cm/151⁄2 x 231⁄2 inches. Spread half of it (40 x 30 cm/151⁄2 x 12 inches) with your chosen filling. Fold the other half of the dough over the filling. Place the seam towards you. With a sharp knife, cut ribbons 30 cm/12 inches long and 1.5 cm/3⁄4 inch wide. Pick a ribbon up and twist it a few laps. Hold the end between your index and middle finder and roll the ribbon around the finger – imagine that you are making a ball of yarn, but instead it’s a ball of dough. It’s fine to stretch the dough a little so that the ball is really quite tight. When you are running out of ribbon, you pull the ball off your two fingers and tuck the end of the ribbon into that hole after having pulled it one lap around the ball. This is to secure the dough in place (please see diagram).
Line a baking sheet with baking (parchment) paper, then place the braids or wreaths on the prepared baking sheet, cover with a clean dish towel and leave to rise for about 25 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Brush the braids or wreaths with egg wash and sprinkle the pearl sugar along the length of the braids or wreath to decorate. Bake for 20 minutes, then leave to cool completely on the baking sheet.