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Monday, December 14, 2015

Saint Lucia Day calls for Saffron Buns!

Yesterday Lilian and I celebrated Saint Lucia Day. In Sweden, children get up early in the morning, put on white gowns and sing Lucia Day and Christmas songs for their parents. This is a tradition that is maintained by daycares and schools, where they practice together for months and invite parents to see their children sing in the Lucia procession. Parents sit down in a dark room, and the Lucia procession enters with candles(mostly faux, battery driven candles), singing the iconic Santa Lucia song. It is really a beautiful sight in the dark, Swedish early morning winter days!

Every year Lilian an I make Lussebullar - saffrony, sweet buns that Swedes bake only around Saint Lucia Day. Our version is a little bit different than the traditional buns, in that the texture is less bready and a bit more moist and pastry-like. 

Here is the recipe, taken from ALLT OM MAT:

(makes around 32 buns)

150 g (1 1/2 stick) butter
6 dl (2 5/8 cup) milk
1 g (0.04 oz) saffron
1 tbsp sugar
12 g (almost 2 envelopes) instant dry yeast
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
18 dl (1100 g)(7 1/2 cup) pastry flour
125 g (1 stick + 1 tbsp) butter
1 1/2 dl (5/8 cup) sugar
2 tsp cardamom
1 whisked egg for brushing

To Finish:
melted butter
fine granulated sugar


Melt 150 g(1 1/2 stick) of butter in a pot. Add milk and let it get a little warmer than body temp. Grind sugar and saffron together with pestle and mortar, or use a spice grinder. Add it to the milk/butter mixture. Whisk 1 egg into the mixture. 

In a separate bowl, or in stand mixer, mix flour yeast and salt together. Add the saffron milk and  knead, first on low- than on medium speed, using dough hook. Let it run for about 5 min, or until the dough starts to loosen from sides and travel up the dough hook. You may need to add slightly more flour, or slightly more milk. The dough should feel elastic and not very sticky at this point.


Sprinkle a little bit of flour over the dough, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it rise for about 40 min. 

When your dough is almost done proofing, whisk 125 g (1 stick + 1 tbsp) of butter 1 1/2 dl (5/8 cup) sugar for a few minutes. Add cardamom. Add this to the dough and slowly mix together with the dough hook, making sure the butter is incorporated into the dough. At this point, Turn your oven on at 425 F(225 C).  

Pour onto floured surface and cut up into 30 - 40 pieces.

Shape into Lussekatter or buns. 


are both traditional shapes. 

If you want to, you can add raisins to your creations. With this particular recipe, I prefer to just make plain buns - the shapes do not come out as well with this much butter in the dough - but it is such a fun activity to do with your kids, and shaping the buns is the most fun part!  You can be super creative.

Let the buns proof on a parchment paper covered(or silicone sheet) cookie sheets for 20 min. Poke some raisins into the the dough, if you want to, and brush with whisked egg. You will have several cookie sheets of buns proofing, and it's ok if they proof for longer than 20 min. 

Bake on 425 F(225 C) in the middle of the over for about 12 min. Every oven is different, so keep any eye on your buns - they should be golden brown on top when they are ready. 

Let them cool on a rack for at least 15 min. When you are ready to serve them, brush the top with butter and dip in sugar. Serve with a cold glass of milk, or with a cup of coffee. 

These buns are not very complicated to make. It just takes a little bit of time. Perfect for a weekend activity with your kid!

This is my easy shop. Come look!

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