A Swedish Tradition On 13 December the Swedes celebrate the Italian Saint Lucia with a remarkable enthusiasm, surpassing any Italian festivities devoted to the same lady. One mandatory constituent in the celebrations is a saffron-flavoured bun, in Swedish called a lussekatt, a "Lucia cat". The shape of this bun might vary somewhat, but is always based on bread designs dating back to earlier Christmas celebrations in Sweden. A Swedish Traditional Recipe from The Santesson Family, www.santesson.com
- Melt butter or margarine in a pan and add the milk and the saffron.
- Warm the mixture to 37 oC (100 oF).
- Use a thermometer; the correct temperature is important!
- Pour the mixture over the finely divided yeast; then add the remaining ingredients (except for the egg and the raisins), which should have a temperature of 21-23 oC (72-75 oF).
- Mix into a smooth dough.
- Cover the dough with a piece of cloth and let it rise for 30 minutes.
- Knead the dough, divide it into 25-30 pieces and form each piece into a round bun.
- Let the buns rest for a few minutes, covered by a piece of cloth.
- Form each bun into a string, 15-20 cm long, then arrange the string in a suitable shape, e.g. an S or double S. Regardless of the shape, the ends of the string should meet.
- Press a few raisins into the dough.
- Cover the"Lucia cats" with a piece of cloth and let them rise for 40 minutes.
- Whip the egg together with a few grains of salt, and paint the"Lucia cats" with the mixture.
- Bake them for 5-10 minutes in the oven at 250 oC (475 oF) until golden brownish yellow.
I love them and can eat all the time. I added dried sour cherries instead of raisins.
I have made these for years, the "Traditional Swedish" method of grinding the saffron is to grind it (after it has been toasted) with a sugar cube. these are wonderful. I have used cardamom in place of saffron for a traditional, but less expensive treat.
Great recipe, although I had difficulty measuring out a 1g portion of saffron, and subsequently it wasn't very pronounced. Also, I think I'll try 450 next time as I it was just barely done on the inside and yet the raisins were singed at the top. The instructions are great and easy to follow - thanks for posting!