A few weeks back I was in Sweden celebrating the start of advent with friends and the party hosts had made Saffron Buns (the Swedish Lussekatter).
In Norway according to the tradition Lussekatter are served on the 13th december for Saint Lucy’s day, an old church tradition where in the traditional celebrations, Saint Lucy comes as a young woman with lights and sweets. It is one of the few saint days observed in Scandinavia.
According to the Norwegian tradition there is a female procession headed by one girl/woman wearing a white gown with a red sash and a crown of candles on her head (The candles symbolize the fire that refused to take St. Lucia’s life when she was sentenced to be burned). The women sing a Lucia song while entering the room, to the melody of the traditional Neapolitan song Santa Lucia; the Scandinavian lyrics are describing the light with which Lucia overcomes the darkness., while the others in the procession hold only a single candle each. After finishing this song, the procession sings Christmas carols or more songs about Lucia.
However, although in Norway Lussekatter is commonly served on Saint Lucy’s day, they are also common for the rest of the advent period. A yummy treat on those cold and dark december nights.
To make them – follow this recipy:
They take about 2 hours to make and make 50 buns.
- 50 grams of bakers yeast (fresh yeast or dry yeast – I prefer fresh)
- 150 grams of butter
- 5 dl of milk
- 3 dl Kesam (Quark Cheese / Curd Cheese)
- 1 gram of saffron
- A pinch of salt
- 1.5-3 dl granulated sugar
- ca 17 dl wheat flour
- Butter (or egg if you are not allergic to eggs :D )
- Raisins (about 100)
What to do:
- If you chose fresh bakers yeast tear it apart and into a bowl. If you chose dry yeast poor it into a bowl.
- Melt the butter in a casserole. Poor the milk into the butter and stirr until it reaches body temperature (37C / 104F).
- Poor some of the warm butter/milk over the yeast and stirr until the yeast has dissipated into the warm mixture.
- Add the rest of the mixture, the Kesam (Quark / Curd), saffron, sugar and salt. Work the flour into the wet mix until the dough doesn’t stick to the bowl or your fingers any more.
- Let the dough rest for 30 minutes to let the yeast work.
- Split into 50 small pieces and roll each of them into 20 cm long rolls. Form into the traditional Lussekatt by curling each end of the roll in the opposite direction from eachother.
- Put on baking plates and garnish with raisins. One in each curls. Cover with a cloth.
- Leave to yeast for 30 minutes
- Brush the buns with melted butter (or 1 whipped egg for those that can have that).
- Bake the Lussekatts in the middle of the oven at 225 °C for about 8-10 minuter until done.
- Cool Off – EAT and Enjoy.
- Freeze the rest to enjoy later !