Lussekatter, Abu Hamdan and Walid Ra’ad

cooked buns

Last week I went to Sweden to look around the Manipulate the World exhibition at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm and to see my sister and her family.

My sister and I have very different jobs – she became a paper conservator and I became an early modern Ottoman historian – yeah we both went so totally mainstream when  thinking about our careers!

Anyway, our work worlds have strangely collided. My sister is the paper conservator at  the Moderna Museet and thus worked with many of the artists showing in the exhibition – obviously it was through her that I found out about the exhibition – she told me about it the time back in October we bumped into each other at Stockholm airport and bizarrely found we had been allocated seats next to each other on the plane – see here.

I am currently writing a couple of articles on artists’ use of past-talk. One, I think, will focus on how artists use the counter/actual as a form of interventionist past- and/or future-talk, and one will focus more on how artists have represented and critiqued the spatialities of occupation particularly in the context of Palestine/Israel.

Anyway, I wanted to see the exhibition as there were works there by artists I am talking about in the articles: Walid Ra’ad, Yet More Letters to the Reader (2017) and Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Earshot (2016).  Ra’ad is very interesting on questions of authenticity, how knowledge is authorised, and problems of  representation – among other issues.


Abu Hamdan is just brilliant on audio-forensics and the politics of listening/silence. His work also makes direct ethical, political and legal interventions. Earshot depicts how his detailed acoustic analysis determined that two unarmed Palestinian teenagers were killed by Israeli soldiers illegally firing live bullets even though they claimed they had used rubber bullets.


I could talk at some length about these artists and why I like them, but perhaps I will leave that for the journal articles and instead concentrate on the point of this tale….

While I was staying with my sister she fed me lussekatter for breakfast – a lovely Swedish saffron bun. I loved them so much that I pretty much made a batch as soon as I got home.

There are lots of recipes on the internet for these buns – most of them seem to require you to make a single dough enriched with butter, eggs and sugar. My sister’s recipe is slightly more complex. You make a dough and then enrich it with a separately-made cake-batter type mix. I have no idea if there is a difference – maybe I will have to undertake an extensive bake-off of all the lussekatter recipes on the internet!

What I do know is that my sister’s buns were better than mine. Hers were small and dainty,  light and fluffy. Mine were huge (I am quite greedy though) and not quite as fluffy. I will keep practising though as I thought it might be nice to sell these to have with home-made jam in the food-truck – what do you think?

The recipe makes a huge amount of buns but they freeze very well.

Lussekatter – Swedish buns;. For the basic dough: 50g butter, 500ml milk, 50g yeast, tsp of sugar, tsp salt, 1.2 kg plain flour. For the enriching batter: 1g saffron, bit of sugar to crush the saffron with, 125g butter, 150g sugar, 1 egg, 500ml plain flour.

Make the dough first. melt the butter and add to the milk and yeast and warm until it is just lukewarm. Add the sugar, salt and flour and mix into a dough. Then make the enriching batter. Bash the saffron with the spoonful of sugar. mix the butter with the 150g of sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and the crushed saffron to this and then add the flour. Mix this into the dough – add a tiny bit more flour if necessary. Leave to rise in a warm place.


Once it has risen take a small handful – depending on how big you like your buns – and roll/stretch the dough out into a snake. Then curl the two ends into spirals in opposite directions – take a look at the photo below – it might help more than my words do.

rolled buns

Pop on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Glaze with beaten egg and pop a raisin in the centre of each spiral. I the left mine to rise a bit more.

ady for the oven2

Cook for 7-9 minutes at 225C. Cool on a wire tray.



N.B. I am not sure of the protocol for using photos of art-works in blogs. I took the photos uploaded here myself at the Manipulate the World exhibition, but I really don’t want to upset any copy-right issues.

N.B. Rubbish photos as I was working on my new first-year module Art and Power (which i start teaching on Thursday) while I was baking these and I couldn’t be bothered to move the buns into a better lit area – sorry.


2 responses to “Lussekatter, Abu Hamdan and Walid Ra’ad

  1. Claire, the re-connection to your sister is simply cosmic in nature. I’ve NEVER heard such a “coincidence” before. if that isn’t the “Universe” telling you both something, I don’t know what it is…
    I think your saffron buns look delish!
    Love this entry, all things I’m attracted to in life. Family, art, connections, food, travel. Much love as always.

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