Season for saffron
Many are the spices that remind us of Christmas, but saffron might be our favorite. Derived from the saffron crocus flower, saffron has been traded and used for over four millennia. Iran now accounts for about 90% of the world production of the spice. Because each flower’s stigmas need to be collected by hand, and there are only a few per flower, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. A Christmas without “saffran” in bread is not a Swedish Christmas. Luckily, since it is expensive, you don’t need much of the spice to get the golden glow and the particular taste of it. Here are a few different saffron recipes to try for a Swedish Christmas (most common saffron recipe is of course “lussekatter”). These recipes are from alltommat.se

Looking for a quick and easy intro to a Swedish Christmas? – take a look at ‘God Jul - Recipes for a Swedish Christmas’ The book offers all of the traditional dishes, translated for the American home and modified to fit today’s lifestyle. 72 beautifully photographed and inspiring recipes covering herring dishes, cold fish dishes, cold meat dishes, vegetarian dishes, hot dishes, cheese & bread and of course yummy desserts.

ADVERTISEMENT

Saffranskaka (Saffron cake)
200 g butter (or margarine)
0.5 g saffron
2 eggs
1.2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1.6 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch confectioner’s sugar
Preheat oven to 347F. Butter and breadcrumb a smooth, round pan with removable sides, about 9” diameter. Melt the butter and let it cool. Pestle the saffron in a mortar (preferably with a sugar cube). Beat egg and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the saffron, the melted butter, and milk. Mix flour and baking powder and add to the batter. Pour the batter into the pan and bake in the lower part of the oven for about 45 minutes. Sift confectioner’s sugar on top before serving.

Mini scones with saffron and figs
Bake these in regular muffin cups. Recipe yields 24 mini scones.
8 dried figs, cut into smaller pieces
50 g butter, melted
1.6 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1.5 Tablespoons honey (the runny kind)
0.5 g saffron
0.8 cup milk
0.5 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 480 F. Cut the figs into small pieces. Melt the butter. Mix all dry ingredients and figs in a bowl. Add the butter and the milk and quickly work into a dough. Cut the dough into 24 pieces and put into the baking cups. Bake in the middle of the oven for around 10 minutes. Let the scones cool and serve at room temperature. Scones are best when eaten the day they were baked, but the can also be refrigerated.

Saffron biscotti with pecans
Make two batches of these – one to keep, the other one to put in a pretty tin and give away. Recipe yields 40 biscottis.
0.5 g saffron
2 Tablespoons Cointreau or Grand Marnier
100 g butter
1.4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
0.4 cup pecans
1 orange or lemon, ground peel
0.4 cup sugar
1 egg (big)
Mix saffron and Cointreau or Grand Marnier, and leave overnight (this will make the most of the saffron both when it comes to taste as well as color). Preheat oven to 390F. Melt the butter. Beat egg and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix flour and baking powder. Chop the pecans, but don’t make them too small. Stir the saffron/alcohol mix, butter, milk, nuts and orange or lemon peel into the egg/sugar mix. Mix well. Bring the dough up onto the baking table (use flour) and make into two rolls, around 12 inches long. Put them on a baking plate. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes. Let cool on the baking plate. Cut the rolls into 0.7” wide sections. Put them with the cut side up on the plate. Put them back in the oven for 40 minutes in 167F.