These saffron buns, known as lussebulle or lussekatte, are traditionally eaten in Sweden on 13 December, Saint Lucia’s Day. I was asked to make them having never even seen them before, and with no idea how they were supposed to taste. Therefore a trial run was in order, but the high price of saffron meant that I only had one chance to get it right. I found several recipes on line, and based on reviews of these and a lack of fresh yeast, I made some adaptations and decided on this:
Lussekatte (makes 12)
120ml semi skimmed milk
30ml double cream
0.4g saffron (one pack)
75g caster sugar
350g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp dried yeast
Using a pestle and mortar, grind the saffron threads into powder. This is easier to do if a pinch of sugar is added to the saffron. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the cream and saffron. Pour this over the dried yeast and stir to remove any lumps. Add the sugar, followed by the flour and salt. The mixture should come together into a beautiful golden yellow, slightly sticky dough. Leave this to rest in a clean bowl, covered with a tea towel, for approximately 30 minutes.
Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes, then divide into 12 even sized balls. Roll each ball into a sausage shape, approximately 15cm long. Shape each one into a reverse ‘s’ shape and place on a lined baking tray. Push a raisin into each end, as pictured above. Cover with a tea towel and leave for another 40 minutes.
Cover each bun with an egg wash and bake at 180 degrees (fan oven), for 10-12 minutes. Serve warm or cold, but eat the same day or perhaps freeze. The saffron dries the dough out, so these will not keep for long. They probably won’t hang around for long anyway, as they are very yummy! Perfect with a hot chocolate on a cold day. I asked a lovely Swedish friend to do a taste test for authenticity and she gave them the nod, so hopefully we will be OK for Saint Lucia’s Day.