Prep 30 mins
Cook 3 hrs 45 mins
From Please to the Table. A large version of the buns commonly served in Sweden between Santa Lucia Day (Dec. 13) and Christmas, but lovely for any time for breakfast or afternoon tea.
- 1 (1/4 ounce) package yeast
- 1⁄2 cup sugar, plus
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1⁄2 cups half-and-half, scalded and cooled to warm
- 5 1⁄2 cups flour
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 large egg yolks, beaten
- 1 large egg yolk, beaten with
- 1 teaspoon milk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 3⁄4 teaspoon saffron thread (crushed and diluted in 2 T warm milk)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon rum extract
- 3⁄4 cup raisins
- 1⁄2 cup candied fruit (or mixed dried fruit)
- 1⁄2 cup sliced almonds
- confectioners' sugar
- In a large bowl, combine the yeast, the 1 t sugar and the half and half. Let stand till foamy, about 5 minutes.
- gradually add half the flour to the yeast mixture, beating till smooth.
- place this sponge in a warm draft free place and let stand till bubbly and doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
- in a second large bowl, beat the egg and egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, butter, saffron mixture and the vanilla and rum extracts with an electric beater till smooth.
- stir in the raisins and candied fruit into the sponge and then add the egg mixture.
- add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition, till you have a sticky dough.
- transfer the dough to a floured surface, sprinkle with additional flour and knead till you have a smooth, elastic dough, 5-8 minutes, adding more flour if necessary.
- place the dough in a large buttered bowl, turning it to coat with the butter.
- cover and set in a warm place till doubled in bulk, about 1 1/12 hours.
- on a large floured surface, roll the dough into a long cylinder about 3 inches thick and 36 inches long.
- place on a large buttered baking sheet and turn the ends in toward the center to form a large "pretzel." Cover and let stand for 40 minutes.
- preheat oven to 350.
- brush the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with almonds, pressing them in slightly.
- bake in the middle of the oven till golden brown, about 45 minutes (I would start checking at about 30 minutes to be sure it doesn't over bake).
- remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
- allow to stand for 4-6 hours.
- serve sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.