The feast day Santa Lucia is celebrated in Sweden on the 13th December as a festival of lights. In the early hours of that December morning, ‘Lucia’ (a young woman dressed in a long white gown with a red sash, and a crown of candles upon her head) delivers freshly baked saffron buns to each house.
Our Lucia celebrations are a little way off, but already there are candles and shining stars in every window, and saffron buns are being baked!
Richard bakes a whole batch with the children every year !
Ingredients for 12 buns;
500g plain flour
10ml dried yeast
125ml natural sugar
5ml saffron powder
180ml warm milk
60ml softened butter
10ml sea salt
2.5 ml ground cardamom
beaten egg for brushing
30ml chopped almonds
15ml crushed almonds
1) Dissolve yeast, sugar & saffron powder in warm milk. Leave in warm place for 10 mins until frothy.
2) Beat 1 egg and add to yeast.
3) Stir in cardamom, salt & flour
4) Cut in butter and add raisins
5) Knead thorougly, return to greased bowl, cover and allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours.
6) Preheat oven to 200 degrees C / 400 degrees F / Gas mark 6
7) Divide dough into 12 pieces. Roll into snakes, coil snakes into a spiraled ‘S’ shape.
8) Put on greased baking tray, brush with egg, sprinkle with almonds and coarse sugar. Let rise for 30 mins more.
9) Bake for 10 – 12 mins until golden brown.
Delicious – especially dipped in hot chocolate or coffee!