Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lussekatter / Saffron buns

In Scandinavia, there's a tradition to celebrate Saint Lucy's day, or as we say; Lucia. It's the 13th of December and the celebration includes singing (a procession led by a girl with a crown of candles), and eating saffron buns. The focus of the day is to bring a little light into the oh so dark December. Up here, we only have day light for about 4-5 hours these days, and it's killing me. And since the wind is 20 m/s today carrying a lot of snow, we were forced to stay inside. So even though it's not the 13th, I made some saffron buns.

No daylight available.

The Swedish word for saffron bun is lussekatt, and this was not related to Lucia from the beginning. Lussekatter is supposed to come from 17th century Germany and somehow protect the children from the devil. The devil comes in only one form here today, and that's the wind. The bright yellow buns didn't manage to scare that away, but they sure kept us happy for a while. I gave them a little twist to, which I learned from Martins mother. Usually they're shaped like this and has no filling except for two raisins in the swirls. While I do like them that way too, I went for something a bit more exciting, marzipan filling!

Saffron buns with marzipan 
yields 30 small buns 

25 g fresh yeast (sub with dry if you want to)
100 g margarine
250 ml soymilk (any non-dairy milk will do)
500 g all-purpose flour
0,5 g pulverized saffron
3 tbs granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
200 g marzipan or almond paste, shredded.
margarine for the filling

1. Crumble the yeast in a big bowl.
2. Melt the margarine in a small saucepan and add the soy milk. Warm the mixture until lukewarm (37 C/99 F) and add it to the yeast. Stir until the yeast is dissolved. 
3. Combine the sugar and saffron in a small glass/mug/bowl and mix it harshly. This will release the flavour in the saffron a bit more. Add this along with the salt to the yeast mixture. 
4. Add the flour until a smooth and pliable dough has formed. Let rise under plastic wrap for about 45 minutes (a bit less if you have a warm kitchen, a bit more if it's cold). 
5. Once the dough has risen, take it out of the bowl and roll it out pretty thinly. Spread with margarine and top with the shredded marzipan.Shape however you want to. I rolled half of it up like cinnamon rolls and cut into pieces and put them kind of close in a pan. The other half I made little twists with by folding the dough into doubled so that the filling is on the inside. Then cut into strips and twist them together and put in paper cups. 
6. Bake until golden on top in 225 C/437 F. Enjoy! 

I have to tell you, they were beautifully yellow and bright, but since there was no daylight, they came out pretty pale in the pictures. I'll try to take a better picture in the morning!


  1. Heh! I love the creative use of "light" in these photos... those buns look lovely :)

  2. the sweets look delicious and you're very creative to use a sparkler for light! it makes for a pretty photo.