From Sweden with Love: Vegan Saffron Buns
Swedish “fika” (n.) a social coffee break with one’s colleagues, friends, date or family, usually accompanied by sweet, baked goods. The concept of taking time out of your day to slow down and connect with some of the people close to you is one of my favourite things about living in Sweden. I also subscribe to the belief that generous fika breaks are what really get us through the winter over here. Who wouldn’t be happy to have some mulled wine and one of these vegan saffron buns?
The traditional saffron buns are called “Lussekatter” in Sweden. They are usually eaten around St. Lucia in the middle of December when the nights are long and we only get a few hours of daylight. My recipe is based on the traditional recipes, but I swapped out the milk and butter for vegan alternatives. I also played around with the shape a little and filled them with a vanilla and mandarine cream, since I find the regular shape topped with raisins a bit dry and boring. If you want more inspiration, look at all the pretty shapes Lina from http://blogg.ostenssons.se created on her blog:
Recipe (yields 6 vegan saffron buns)
Ingredients for the dough
75g vegan butter
1 tsp dry yeast
1 sachet saffron
250ml oat/soy/almond milk (about 1 cup)
1/2 tsp salt
ca. 500g flour
coarse sugar for decoration
Ingredients for the filling
1 sachet vanilla custard (vegan)
ca. 200ml oat/almond/soy milk
2 tbsp sugar
zest and juice of a small mandarine
1. Melt the vegan butter in a pot or in the microwave.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the melted “butter” with the vegan milk. Add the saffron, yeast, salt, cardamom and sugar. Slowly add more and more flour until the dough no longer sticks. Cover the bowl and leave to proof for about 30-60 mins (until the dough has risen significantly).
3. Make the custard according to the instructions on the sachet, but use less liquid and add the mandarine zest and juice. I used about half the suggested “milk” to get a thicker cream and it worked perfectly. Don’t start on the cream until the dough is almost ready to shape or it will turn too thick and gloopy to spread.
4. When the dough has risen, take it out of the bowl and divide into 6 evenly-sized pieces. Form each piece into your preferred shape – you can be as creative as you like here! I will show you how I got the shape of my vegan saffron buns in the pictures below. Place the buns on a baking tray with baking parchment, sprinkle with coarse sugar and let them proof a second time, for about 30 mins.
4. Preheat the oven to 220 C. Bake the buns in the middle of the oven for 10-12 mins. The time can vary a lot depending on how big they are!
Tip: Brush a thin layer of simple syrup on the buns before baking. They will look even more delicious and shiny when they come out of the oven.