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Sweden's traditions for breakfast or supper.

ST. LUCIA, SAINT OF light, ushers in the Swedish holiday season with the festival of lights. At daybreak on December 13, the youngest daughter dons a crown and serves her family S-shaped cardamon buns.

The Ritter family of Mill Valley, California, celebrates this ritual by sharing with friends a buffet breakfast featuring St. Lucia buns.

You can adapt this Swedish tradition for your family by serving the buffet menu as a breakfast or winter supper.

Make the buns up to 3 weeks ahead. Assemble the casserole at least 8 hours ahead.

St. Lucia Buns

1 package active dry yeast

1 cup warm milk (110[degrees])

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter or margarine at room temperature

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cardamom, or crushed, hulled cardamom seed

About 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

About 1/4 cup raisins

In a bowl, combine yeast and milk; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Blend in sugar, butter, 1 egg, salt, and cardamom. Stir in 3 1/2 cups flour to form a stiff dough.

To knead with a dough hook, beat at high speed until dough pulls cleanly from sides of bowl, about 6 minutes. If dough still sticks, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time until dough pulls free.

To knead by hand, scrape dough onto a floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding as little flour as possible to prevent sticking. Place dough in a greased bowl.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down dough, turn out onto a board, and knead lightly. Pinch off 1 1/2-inch balls of dough; roll each into a smooth rope about 10 inches long. On lightly greased 10- by 15-inch baking sheets, form each rope into an S by snugly coiling ends in opposite directions. Put a raising in center of each coil; set buns 2 inches apart.

Cover buns lightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 25 minutes. Beat remaining egg; brush buns evenly with egg.

Bake in a 350[degrees] oven until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. (If using 1 oven, switch pan positions halfway through baking.) Transfer to a rack. Serve warm or cool.

If made ahead, wrap and store at room temperature up until next day or freeze up to 3 weeks. Thaw frozen buns unwrapped. To heat, wrap in foil and bake in a 350[degrees] oven until warm, about 15 minutes. Makes 3 dozen buns, about 1 ounce each.

Per bun: 89 cal.; 2 g protein; 2.3 g fat )1.3 g sat.); 15 g carbo.; 55 mg sodium; 17 mg chol.

Sausage and Cheese

Bread Custard

2 pounds hot or mild Italian sausage, casings removed

About 1 loaf (1-lb. size, with 1/2-inch-thick slices) firm white bread

1/2 pound cheddar cheese, shredded

7 large eggs

5 cups milk

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspon pepper

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, stir sausage over medium-high heat until crumbly and brown, about 15 minutes. Drain and discard fat.

Cut bread into 1-inch pieces. Evenly spread 1/2 the bread cubes in a buttered shallow baking dish (about 9 by 13 in.). Top with 1/2 the cheddar cheese and 1.2 the sausage. Layer remaining bread, sausage, and cheddar cheese.

With a whisk, blend eggs, mil, mustard, and pepper; pour over layered casserole. Cover and chill at least 8 hours or until next day.

Bake casserole, uncovered, in a 350[degrees] oven until edges are golden brown and the center is firm, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes on a rack. Cut into rectangles and serve. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Per serving: 557 cal.; 31 g protein; 34 g fat (15 g sat.); 31 g carbo.; 1,132 mg sodium; 243 mg chol.

Vegetable and Cheese

Bread Custard

Follow recipe for sausage and cheese bread custard (preceding), except omit sausage. Pour 1 tablespoon salad oil in frying pan. Add 2 medium-size (about 1 lb. total) red or green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped; 1 medium-size (8 oz.) onion, chopped; and 3/4 pound mushrooms, rinsed and sliced. Cook until onion is golden, about 20 minutes.

Layer vegetable mixture and 1 large package (8 oz.) cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, with bread and cheddar cheese.

Per serving: 452 cal.; 21 g protein; 26 g fat (14 g sat.); 34 g carbo.; 589 mg sodium; 216 mg chol.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:holiday foods and rituals
Publication:Sunset
Date:Dec 1, 1991
Words:763
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