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Saffron Buns for St. Lucy (Lussekatter)

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?

 

Saffron Buns for St. Lucy's Day

 

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.

 

Saffron Buns for St. Lucy's Day

 

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.

 

Saffron Buns for St. Lucy's Day

 

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.

 

Saffron Buns for St. Lucy's Day

 

Instructions

 

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).

 

Steps to mix saffron with the milk.

 

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.

 

Steps to knead the dough.

 

Saffron Buns for St. Lucy's Day

 

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).

 

Steps to shape the saffron buns into 'cats'.

 

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).

 

Saffron Buns for St. Lucy's Day

 

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!

 

Saffron Buns for St. Lucy's Day

 

Because food is important during Christmas

 

 

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!

 

 

In order to keep the blog up and running this post contains affiliate links, it will be at no extra cost to you, please read the disclosure for more information.

Saffron Buns for St. Lucy's Day

Saffron Buns for St. Lucy (Lussekatter)

Yield: 24 saffron buns
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Fluffy Saffron Buns for St. Lucy's Day. It's a sweet and fluffy bun, buttery and with a hint of the delicious honey and floral like aroma of saffron. Christmas in a bun!

Ingredients

  • 8 cups flour, 1000 g (using a scale is highly recommended for this recipe)
  • ½ + 1tbsp cup sugar, 120 g
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 teaspoon cardamom
  • 0.5 g saffron powder. Or 0.75-1 teaspoon threads*
  • ½ cup + 3 tablespoon butter, 160 g
  • 2 ¼ cups milk, 500 ml
  • 1.7 oz fresh yeast, 50 g. 3 US packets**
  • 1 egg, + 1 more for brushing
  • raisins, for decorating

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, and add the milk. Remove from heat and whisk in the saffron (if using saffron threads, just mix with a spoon, not a wire whisk). Let this mixture come to lukewarm, around 38C (100F)
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) – flour, sugar, salt and cardamom.
  3. Crumble the fresh yeast and mix it into lukewarm saffron milk. If using instant dry yeast, you can add it directly to the dry mixture.
  4. Add the milk mixture into the dry ingredients along with 1 egg.
  5. Knead together. Easiest in a stand mixer, but a strong hand mixer works too.  This is also a very important step, as you have to mix until the dough is fluffy and no longer clings to the bowl (about 10 minutes).
  6. Place a towel over the bowl (if you used a stand mixer, this bowl will be too small, take the largest you have or divide the dough in two) 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. Shape them into reverse S-shape and tuck them together (or any other shape you like). Place them on a prepared baking sheet with parchment paper. Let them rest and rise on a warm place for another 45-60 minutes (also to double the size).
  8. Decorate with two raisins, one in each center, brush the saffron buns with whisked egg. Bake in the middle of the oven at 210C (410F) for about 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. 

Notes

* 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, saffron is highly recommended.

** If you want to use dry yeast; you can use 7 g instant dry yeast, this equals to 1 Norwegian packet, or 2 US packets.

Tip for storage: They can easily be freezed. When you want to eat them, just warm in the oven for a few minutes in a 300F (150C) oven for 8-10 minutes 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).

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 bun
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 241Total Fat: 6.7gSaturated Fat: 3.9gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 152mgCarbohydrates: 38.8gFiber: 1.6gProtein: 6.3g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or tag @thegingerwithspice on Instagram, I'd love to see!

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Heidy M

Monday 30th of March 2020

These saffron bubs look amazing and the images are so wonderful I can almost taste them. I need to buy a few things my next market run but am preparing my list because I would love to make these for the family

Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice

Tuesday 31st of March 2020

Hi Heidy! Thanks so much, I hope you find all the ingredients! I've been meaning to update the recipe to state that I use saffron powder, but you can use strands of saffron too. Use twice the quantity of saffron threads if you are substituting threads for powder.

Brittany Nicole

Monday 10th of December 2018

This sounds really tasty and unique, my husband would love it!

Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice

Tuesday 11th of December 2018

Thank you!

Jori

Monday 10th of December 2018

So luxurious! Thanks for the sub option so I can have this year round. :)

Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice

Tuesday 11th of December 2018

Right! No problem at all :)

Krista Price

Sunday 9th of December 2018

Stine, this recipe is incredible (per usual), but I what I really wanted to mention is how much I LOVE your photography style. There's a warm coziness that comes from your food photos that makes me want to make all of your recipes! You inspire me love! :)

Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice

Monday 10th of December 2018

This comment made my day, Krista! Thank you so much! Warm coziness is what I go for. Merry Christmas dear ❤️

Sri Mallya

Saturday 8th of December 2018

Looks so soft and delicious. can't wait to try your recipe.

Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice

Saturday 8th of December 2018

Thank you very much!

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