I watched Paul Hollywood make St Lucia Buns on the Great British Baking Show and I immediately thought about making them with Creole Cream Cheese in place of the Quark cheese in the recipe. Of course, in craziness of the months since the episode aired, I nearly forgot about doing this recipe.
If you want these for breakfast on December 13th, consider making the dough the night before. When you get the stage of putting it in a buttered bowl to proof, instead place the covered bowl in the fridge overnight. Pull it out and set on the counter to let it warm to room temperature for 90 minutes before continuing the recipe by punching down and dividing the dough into about 12 equal sized pieces.
My raisins were a little old and hard, so I put them in a steamer basket over a small amount of boiling water for a few minutes and to soften and plump them up.
The end result are buns that are as beautiful as they are tasty.
Saint Lucy's Saffron Buns
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup warm milk
½ stick unsalted butter
5 cups (500g) bread flour
1 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar
1 cup Creole Cream cheese
butter for greasing
1 egg yolk
24 to 30 raisins
Scald the milk by pouring it into a small pan and warm over a low heat until almost to a boil and it is gently steaming. Remove from the heat, add the saffron threads and butter and leave to stand for 10 minutes or until lukewarm.
Place flour into the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other and begin to stir. Add in the sugar and continue to stir. Add the saffron-milk-butter mixture and creole cheese and mix until all the flour from the sides of the bowl has been incorporated.
Knead for about 5 or 6 minutes either in the mixer or by hand on the counter. The finished dough will form a soft, smooth skin.
When the dough feels smooth and silky, put it into a lightly buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 1½-2 hours until doubled in size. Grease 2 baking sheets with butter.
Punch down the dough and divide into about 12 equal pieces. Roll the pieces into a long strand about a foot long. Starting at each end, roll in opposite directions into an S-shape, as tight as possible.
Place on the prepared baking sheets and cover loosely with a plastic. Leave for 30-45 minutes until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the rolls with the egg yolk, then place one raisin in the center of each spiral (two raisins per roll). Bake the rolls for 15 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack.