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St. Lucia Saffron Buns (Lussekatter)

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

St. Lucia’s Day falls on December 13th each year in Scandinavia and these golden buns are central to the celebrations. But if you ask me, any day in December is a good saffron bun day. To enjoy the buns in Scandinavian fashion, I recommend serving them as a snack with a cup of tea, coffee, or glass of mulled wine.


St. Lucia Saffron Buns (Lussekatter) Preparation and cooking time: 2 hours Infusing time: Overnight Makes: 16 Lussekatter 1 g saffron 1 tbsp vodka 320 ml milk (plus 3 tbsp for egg wash) 150 g unsalted butter 7 g fast action yeast 1 tsp salt 125 g caster sugar 750 g strong white flour 2 eggs (1 for the dough, 1 for the egg wash) 1 handful raisins

Step 1

Add the saffron to the vodka. Leave overnight to infuse. This is to maximize the colour. A rum works fine if you don’t have vodka.

Step 2

Put the milk (320ml) along with the butter and saffron liquid in a pan and gently heat until it’s steaming. Set aside until lukewarm.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, caster sugar, salt and the yeast together. Make a well in the middle of the bowl. Pour in the milk mixture along with the egg. Mix together to form a sticky dough, then turn out onto the worktop and knead until smooth and elastic (this will take about 10 mins). Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and leave to rise for 30–40 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Step 3

Heat oven to 225C/200C fan/gas 7.

Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper. On a lightly floured worktop, divide the dough into 16 pieces. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, roll out into a 30cm long strand. Roll up one end into the middle, then the other, forming the dough into an S-shape.

Once all the buns are made, place on the baking trays, lightly cover with a clean dish towel and prove until almost doubled in size.

Step 4

For the egg wash, whisk the egg and milk, making sure that the mix is completely smooth and has no lumps.

Apply the egg wash in a thin layer using a pastry brush on the buns.

Press a raisin into the centre of each spiral. Put the trays in the oven and bake for around 12 mins or until nicely golden.

The buns are best eaten on the day they are made but will keep for a couple of days - if they have started to dry out you can soften them by putting them in the microwave for 10 seconds before eating.

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