Annie made these Lucia Buns for us on Saint Lucia Day. But she did have to start them the day before. They were really delicious. One of the details I came up with in the end to take care of a little hitch in the kit-along. Annie started making these at about 11:45 at night. I know this because while I was rather soundly sleeping I began hearing the sound of someone slowly approaching the third floor, and then slowing approaching the bed. Now because I know Annie, I suspected that it was her in search of some ingredient she couldn't find. Luckily Riley did not panic, because he can really come flying out of bed when he's asleep and thinks someone is threatening him. She couldn't find the saffron. So I told her where I thought it was, and that was the last we heard of her. I would highly recommend starting the buns earlier than midnight.
So early in the evening of the day before you want the buns in the morning get started. Then, after the dough has risen once, form the buns, cover them with a dampish tea towel, and leave to rise over night. This works well in our house in the winter, as it gets very cold at night - a bit like a refrigerator.
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
4 crushed cardamon pods
Put into a glass dish for about 50 seconds. Then let sit to melt the butter. Remove the cardamon pods and add:
1 tablespoon yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
Stir just a bit, and leave for about 5 minutes to proof.
Mix the yeast mixture and the milk mixture with:
1 scant pound of flour
Knead until it is not sticky, and then leave to rise for about an hour or so.
Mix mix together:
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
Then add this mixture to the risen dough.
At this point you can form the dough into the lucia buns.
There are many shapes that you can chose from.
Put them on parchment paper on trays, cover with damp tea towels and leave to rise over-night.
In the morning heat the oven to 450 degrees.
Make an egg wash with 1 egg yolk and a dab of water, and brush onto the risen buns.
Sprinkle with some perl sugar if you like, and if you have some.
And if you like put on some raisins. Annie mistook dried cherries for raisins, and that was tasty.
Bake for 7-8 minutes. It all depends on how big your buns are.
1 egg white
1/4 cup sugar
Beat with an electric mixer until very white and foamy.
Brush onto the buns as desired.