Fluffy Saffron Buns for St. Lucy's Day, also known as Lussekatter. It's a sweet and fluffy bun, buttery and with a hint of the delicious honey and floral like aroma of saffron. Saffron is a luxurious spice, so what better time to get it out of your spice shelf than for Christmas?
I am so happy today! The snow is piling up outside my window, and I love it! There's currently 25 cm (10 inches) of snow and counting. Snow is such a calming weather, the snow falls slowly and turns into a sound blanket, the sounds of the town is fading away as the snow hits the ground.
The layers of clothes get larger and the food more comforting. I have a tradition, that whenever snow comes for a visit, I have to throw everything out of my hands and go straight to the kitchen and make some hot chocolate. Yes, hot chocolate and snow are besties.
So what do I eat next to my hot chocolate? December 13th is coming up close, and do you know what day that is? It's St. Lucy's Day (or St. Lucia), which is a feast day. St. Lucy brought food and aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs during the Diocletianic Persecution. Mostly celebrated in Norway and Sweden - but also Italy.
Although I'm not that into religion and Christianity, I like the food. Specifically the saffron buns. This is regular sweet buns (delicious!), but added saffron and raisins. The saffron gives the buns a really bright and yellow color, as well as a very distinct taste. The taste of saffron is sweet and hay-like, and fits perfectly into these saffron buns for St. Lucy's Day.
Saffron Buns for St. Lucy's Day
In Norway we call saffron buns for Lussekatter, which probably could translate to Lucy Cats, don't ask me why we call them cats. Maybe it's the S-shape that could reminiscent a cat with its tale out like half an S? Nevertheless, they taste amazing and Christmassy. In Sweden they are called Lussebullar.
If you want a more detailed explanation of how to make sweet buns, I suggest you read my recipe for regular Norwegian Sweet Buns first.
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl – flour, sugar, salt and cardamom. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, and add the milk (2). Remove from heat and whisk in the saffron (3). Let this mixture come to lukewarm, around 38C (100F). This is very important for the yeast to rise. When you’ve got the right temperature, crumble the fresh yeast into the saffron milk (4). Then you can pour it in the flour mixture along with 1 egg (5).
Knead together. Easiest in a stand mixer, but a strong hand mixer works too. Around 10 minutes (6). This is also a very important step, as you have to mix until the dough is fluffy and no longer clings to the bowl. But, you don’t want to add more flour that absolutely necessary, as more flour means denser, more dry buns.
* If you don't want to spend luxurious saffron on buns, you could substitute with turmeric. The taste will not be the same obviously, but they will get a yellow color. ½ teaspoon turmeric for 1 gr saffron. However, I highly recommend saffron for the taste.
Let it rest to double its size
Place a towel over the bowl and let it rest on a warm place until it doubles in size. Approximately 1 hour (7).
Take the dough onto a floured surface and cut them into equal sizes, approximately golf ball+ size (8). Roll it out like a sausage and shape them into reverse S-shape and tuck them together (9-10). Place them on a prepared baking sheet with parchment paper (11). Let them rest and rise on a warm place for another 45-60 minutes (also to double the size)(12).
Decorate with two raisins (optional), one in each center, brush the saffron buns with a whisked egg. Bake in the middle of the oven at 210C (410F) for 10-12 minutes. Watch closely as the temperature is high. The buns will get a golden color, and if you knock on the backside of a bun and the sound is hollow, they are done! Cool on a cooling rack. Serve as is, or slice up and spread butter on each side! You could also use Norwegian brown cheese (as mentioned in my Sweet Buns recipe).
Tip for storage
They can easily be freezed. When you want to eat them, just warm in the oven for a few minutes on fan and they will be as crispy and tasty as newly baked. You may also thaw them on the counter and just heat in the microwave (although no longer crispy).
Next, why don't you check out my Swedish cardamom buns - these also have a video!
Because food is important during Christmas
- Warming Rich and Decadent Hot Chocolate
- Scandinavian Mulled Wine (gløgg)
- Orange Hot Chocolate
- Norwegian Gingerbread Cookies (pepperkaker)
- Norwegian Christmas Men Cookies (julemenn)
- Easy Christmas Chocolate Rice Puffs (risboller)
I would love to hear what you thought of this recipe, either in the comment section below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don't forget to Pin it for later!
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