Lussekatter – St Lucia Saffron and Cardamom Sweet Buns
St Lucy’s Day
Tomorrow, December the 13th, is St Lucy’s Day as well as my daughter Hannah’s birthday…….so a double celebration. And in readiness for these double celebrations, today’s recipe has been especially posted a day early so that any aspiring bakers can make my recipe for “Lussekatter”, or St Lucia Saffron and Cardamom Sweet Buns. I have made these before, but a long time ago and before I owned a digital camera and way before I started to take photos of my food! They are a little tricky to make, insofar as they take time to knead, prove, rest and shape, BUT, if you are not a stranger to yeast baking, then you will find these a doddle to make as well as being very therapeutic too. Beginner bakers will hopefully find my step-by-step photos in the recipe card helpful and the two or three hours it takes to make these delightful buns is more than compensated for when you taste them and view your baking booty.
Although Santa Lucia day is celebrated in most Catholic countries, it’s the celebrations in Sweden (and Scandinavia) that fascinates and interests me the most; celebrated to honour and in remembrance of St Lucy, the 13th December was the winter solstice and therefore the shortest day on the old Julian calendar which led to St Lucy’s feast day being known as the “Festival of Light”. Light and in particular candles play a big part on this special day with a “Santa Lucia Queen of Lights” (also called the Lucia Bride) wearing a long white robe, a red sash for martyrdom and a wreath of lingonberry twigs, leaves and candles in her hair being the highlight of a dawn procession; other girls (and sometimes boys) are all dressed like “Lucy” in white robes, sing songs whilst carrying cookies and these Lussekatter buns as they walk in the special procession.
But back to my recipe for today; these little buns are made with saffron, but I also like to add another classic and traditional spice of Scandinavia, that of cardamom, which imparts a lovely aromatic and warm flavour. These sweet buns are very similar to Brioche, as they are an egg and butter enriched sweet dough, but it’s the saffron that imparts such a special and very celebratory taste to them, whilst also adding a fabulous golden glow and hue. They truly represent Sweden, and Scandinavia as a whole, and once made, any that are not eaten on the day can be popped into the freezer for more festive feasting later. Whereas I am not suggesting that you wear candles or a wreath in your hair, I think it would be lovely if after baking these, you dress the table with crisp linen, invite your friends (and family) over and light some candles……to create that special Santa Lucia atmosphere.
So, the end, I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to Hannah for tomorrow, and, if you fancy a trip, or should I say a cruise, to see the Northern Lights and Scandinavia this winter, then Travelbag Cruise have some great offers with numerous cruise companies over on their site. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend (and St Lucy’s Day tomorrow), I’ll be back with more traveller’s tales, some new recipes as well as a couple of new giveaways and my usual “kitchen chat”, see you later, Karen
This is part of my Churchill China UK Blogger and Ambassador series of posts, and I am using The Caravan Trail Penzance patterned plates and salad bowl in my images.
For more of my Churchill China Posts, please visit the link here:
Disclaimer: I was paid for my time and for my ingredients by Travelbag Cruise. This recipe is being entered into a contest hosted by Travelbag Cruise to win £500 of travel vouchers.
As I have used sugar and spice, these are also perfect for the current challenge of Cooking with Herbs where the current theme is:
I am also entering these FESTIVE buns into the following FESTIVE challenges!