Lucia Buns are, as the name suggests, traditionallay eaten at Lucia celebrations on 13 December. These fragrant saffron buns are delicius with a coffee, hot chocolate or Glögg, Swedish mulled wine.
The annual candlelit Lucia procession on 13 December is perhaps one of the more exotic-looking Swedish customs, with girls and boys clad in white full-length gowns singing songs together. Among the youngest, anyone can be Lucia; as the children get older, the competition will harden. Learn more about Lucia from Sweden.se's website: https://sweden.se/culture-traditions/lucia/
1 g (1/28 oz) saffron threads
50 g (2 oz) yeast
200 g (7 oz) sugar
300 ml (1½ cup) milk
150–200 g (5–7 oz) butter
1 tsp salt
750 g (26 oz) flour
100 g (3½ oz) raisins
2 tbs water
To make Lucia Buns, or ‘Lucia cats’ (lussekatter), as they're often called, grind the saffron along with a cube of sugar, using a mortar and pestle. (For those who think ahead: drip a little cognac on top, and let stand a few days.) Crumble the yeast in a bowl and stir in a few tablespoons of milk. Melt the butter and pour on the milk.
Add the rest of the ingredients, except the raisins, and knead the dough in a dough mixer for 10 minutes. Carefully mix in most of the raisins, cover the dough and let it rise for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Divide the dough into 25 pieces and roll the buns in an oblong shape, about 10 cm (4 in) long. Cover them and let rest for 10 minutes, then roll them twice as long and twist the ends of each bun in opposite directions to form a sort of figure 8. Put one raisin in the middle of each half figure 8.
Place on a greased baking sheet and let rise under a towel for about 90 minutes, or until the buns have doubled in size. Bake in the oven (220°C/Gas mark 7) for 5 minutes. Beat together the egg and water, brush the mixture on the buns. Allow to cool on the baking sheet.