Lucia − the bearer of light

Alongside Midsummer, the Lucia celebrations represent one of the foremost cultural traditions in Sweden, with their clear reference to life in the peasant communities of old: darkness and light, cold and warmth.

Lucia is an ancient mythical figure with an abiding role as a bearer of light in the dark Swedish winters.

Traditional treats

The sweet yeast rolls Saffron Buns ( Lusse katter ) that are served during the Christmas season are flavoured with golden saffron and dark raisins and often shaped into ‘Lucia cats’ (lussekatter).

But sweet yeast buns without saffron are eaten year round in Sweden, usually in the form of cinnamon buns.  However I will hereby gibe you my Lucia Saffron Buns recipe

Saffron Buns/ Lussekatter

Using saffron in sweet buns is common in Sweden and during advent and christmas, very very common. The lussekatt is a sweet saffron bun ment to be eaten at St:Lucia Day on December 13th.

There are many different old reasons why the swedish people celebrate this day, dating back to before christianity. All from the winter solstice and the re-birth of the sun to Lussinatta, the Lussi Night. When “Lussi”, a female being with evil traits, like a female demon or witch, was riding through the air with her followers, called Lussiferda.

These traditional Swedish Christmas buns have a wonderful warm saffron flavor and additions of sweet raisins. They are easy to make and fun to shape.

You will need: (Pre-heat oven to 250C / 480F)
150g Dairy Free Margarine
500 ml Vegan Milk (+ extra for brushing)
50g Fresh Yeast (or dry yeast equal to 50g, read on packet)
½ tsp Salt
1½ dl (½cup) Sugar
1g of Saffron (powder)
1.3 L Plain Flour (13 dl)
Raisins/ Sultanas

Melt your margarine and add your milk to it. Heat until finger warm with the saffron (37C / 98F)
Dissolve the yeast with the milk/margarine liquid in a big bowl. Add salt, sugar and around 2/3 of the plain flour.
Work the dough until shiny and add more of the flour. Saving 1-2dl (½-3/4cup) for the rolling of the dough later on.
Sprinkle with flour and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Leave to rise in room temperature with out a drag until the dough has doubled in size. (approx. 45-60min)
Once your dough has risen, put it on a floured work bench and cut into 30-40 pieces.
Roll each piece into a sausage shape as thick as a finger and shape into the classic lussekatt-shape. (or shape of your choice, but remember that size will effect how long it has to be baked.)
Place evenly on oven trays with baking paper and leave to rise until they almost double in size.
Brush with dairy free milk and gently push a raisin/sultana in each swirl on the buns.
Bake each tray in the middle of the pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes. Until just golden.
Enjoy your Swedish Saffron Buns.