Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saffron pancake

Every year on December 13th Saint Lucia is celebrated in Sweden. Traditionally a white-dressed woman with candles in her hair is chosen to be Lucia and she is followed by girls and boys who all sing Lucia songs. Every region, city, school, kindergarten chooses Lucia each year. There is also one offical Sweden Lucia.

And as most traditions Lucia comes with traditional food as well. Saffron buns (Lussekatter) are eaten on December 13th. They are made of sweet yeast-dough with saffron. But as much as I like these buns (saffron cannot be wrong) I did not feel to make the yeast-dough.

So I looked for another recipe with saffron and chose to make saffron pancake. This cake comes from Gotland (Sweden´s biggest island) and despite the name is not really a pancake, but rather a cake made with rice pudding and saffron. And this cake has nothing to do with Lucia.

I used Japanese rice called mochi but traditionally regular short-grain white rice is used. The cake is eaten with whipped cream and dewberry jam. Dewberry jam can even be hard to find in Sweden so feel free to replace it with your favourite jam.

Saffron pancake
serves 6

1,5 dl rice ( I used mochi rice)
about 6 dl milk
pinch of salt
0,5 gr saffron threads
0,5 dl sugar
1 dl chopped blanched almonds + for the top (optional)
3 eggs
about 1 dl milk
jam and whipped cream to serve with

Put rice, milk and salt in a saucepan and cook on low heat until rice is done. It takes approximately 1 hour for mochi rice to absorb most of the milk and to be done. Let cool. This can be done one (or couple) of days in advance.

Put sugar and saffron threads in a mortar and mix until the saffron threads are transformed into powder. Add saffron-sugar and almonds to the cooked rice and blend well. Add eggs (one by one), and milk as needed. The mixture should be very well mixed and not very thick, but not liquid neither. Pour in a greased and floured baking pan (1,2 litres) and sprinkle some chopped almonds over the top.

Bake in pre-heated oven 180C for about 3o minutes. Serve warm with jam and whipped cream.

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