I first made this sweet bread for 4-H when I was like 13. Pretty daunting task, didn't turn out awesome. I think I still got a red ribbon though. Then last year my cousin's decided it was high time us Swedes had a day all our own.
I thought it was a great idea, and I dug out my recipe for St. Lucia's Crown.
It turned out slightly better than the first effort.
This year I found a new recipe. It was much yummier! It called for orange zest and juice instead of almond. I love Orange Cranberry and I happened to have a bag of Crasins in the pantry so we had and Orange Cranberry St. Lucia's Crown!
I changed the process as I use a Bosch mixer, and like many yeast bread recipes, this one is written for hand mixing.
This is what I did:
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar (pretty sure I just did 1/3cup)
- 6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup orange juice (I added more cause I really like orange).
- 1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Pour 1 1/2 cups into a 2 cup glass measuring cup or a pint jar (or larger).
- Drop in 6 Tablespoons of butter
- Microwave until butter melts (took mine about 90 seconds).
- Measure the sugar into the mixing bowl.
- Pour hot milk & butter into the sugar and whisk while it dissolves the sugar and cools the milk a bit.
- Sprinkle yeast over the milk mixture. Let proof (or get bubbly) about 5 minutes.
- While proofing: whisk 2 eggs in now cooled milk heating container, add orange juice and zest.
- Start mixing milk mixture, add egg mixture while mixer is running.
- Sift in the flour & salt.
- Knead till gluten develops, add Craisins (if desired about a minute before kneading is done).
- Let rise till doubled. Warmer rooms speed this process.
- Punch down. Divide into 3 equal sections. Roll each section into a rope 30-36" long.
- Braid the 3 sections together.
- Leave the ends unbraided so when you turn it into a circle you can braid and connect them.
- Let Rise another 30-45 minutes, then bake till golden in a 350* oven, about 20 minutes.
|I obviously didn't do the best job intertwining the ends.|
|but it still turns out pretty and tasted yummy.|
Pour this glaze over the top:
1/3 cup butter mixed with 2 cups powdered sugar
(it's super thick and hard to stir, but mix it together over medium heat)
Thin with Orange Juice, about 1/4 cup
Decorate however you desire.
Tradition calls for candles, but since we like the bread fresh from the oven they usually melt a bit, but its easy to pick out.
St. Lucia's Day is usually celebrated on December 13th but we celebrate it as a part of our family's Swede Day (which is held in April, a month with few celebrations as opposed to the packed month of December). Custom states that the eldest daughter dresses in all white and wears a crown of lights on her head and serves the sweet bread to her family. #1 thought this was silly, but I think she felt pretty special.
As a note of interest we ate Swedish Meatballs for dinner. This recipe was SO DELICIOUS!