A couple of months back I was talking about Swedish cinnamon buns and if you care to scroll down my blog, you will find the recipe. Today, I would like to talk about another Swedish treasure- delicious saffron buns that remind of curled cats, called Lussekatter (Lucia’s cats).
These buns are traditionally made on December 13th for the occasion of Saint Lucia’s day.
Lucia of Syracuse, otherwise known as Saint Lucy, was a Christian martyr who died during the Diocletianic Persecution: the last and most severe persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. According to the story around her life, she was a devout woman who gave her riches to the poor, and having consecrated her virginity to God, refused to marry a pagan nobleman.
Lucia’s death came in 304 AD. Her story reached Sweden gradually, from Sicily via England and Germany. As Lucia shares its root with the Latin word lux, which means light, and as the Feast of Saint Lucia coincided with the winter solstice, this only emphasised 13th December as the Swedish festival of light.
What I love about the history of these lovely buns is that they are made to bring the light into a dull and dark Swedish winter. I find that very romantic.
ingredients: 100 grams of melted butter, 250 ml of warm milk, 1/2 gram of saffron, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 3 tablespoons of yeast, 1 pinch of salt, 1/3 cup of lukewarm water, 1 egg, 425-475 grams of flour, raisins.
egg wash: 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of milk.
Soak raisins in some water and leave for 30 minutes.
Add yeast to lukewarm water together with 1 teaspoon of sugar and leave until foams up. Grind the saffron and put in a mortar together with little sugar and crush it. Add it to milk. Beat the egg a little and add to the milk mixture. Melt butter and add to the milk as well. Add salt. Mix well to combine.
Add a little flour and add yeast. Mix and add flour gradually. Use a wooden spoon to mix and then knead with your hands. If the dough is sticky, add a bit more flour, but don’t exceed 3/4 of a cup.
Put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and leave for 45 minutes. Roll the dough, cut into strips and shape into letter S. Cover and let it rise for about half an hour.
Mix egg and milk and brush each bun. Put one raisin in each swirl ( two raisins per bun ).
Bake at 200ºC between 11 and 15 minutes, depending on your oven.
As you see, these are very easy to make and very delicious to eat. Let them bring the love and the light into your homes as well. Long winter nights taste better in warm colours. With love, Tatjana.