Swedish saffron buns named for Saint Lucia of Syracuse (283–304), whose name day, December 13, was once considered the longest night of the year. As Lucia means light, the saint was incorporated into the celebration when these buns are traditionally eaten. The Swedish term, Lussekatter, or Lucia's cats, refers to the bun's curled shape.
- 300 ml milk
- 1 g saffron
- 50 g baker's yeast
- 150 g sugar
- 125 g butter or margarine
- 700 g all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- Melt butter or margarine in a pan and add the milk and the saffron.
- Warm the mixture to 37°C (100°F).
- Use a thermometer; the correct temperature is important!
- Pour the mixture over the finely divided yeast; then add the remaining ingredients (except for the egg and the raisins), which should have a temperature of 21-23°C (72-75°F).
- Mix into a smooth dough.
- Cover the dough with a piece of cloth and let it rise for 30 minutes.
- Knead the dough, divide it into 25-30 pieces and form each piece into a round bun.
- Let the buns rest for a few minutes, covered by a piece of cloth.
- Form each bun into a string, 15-20 cm long, then arrange the string in a suitable shape, e.g. an S or double S. Regardless of the shape, the ends of the string should meet.
- Press a few raisins into the dough.
- Cover the "Lucia cats" with a piece of cloth and let them rise for 40 minutes.
- Whip the egg together with a few grains of salt, and paint the "Lucia cats" with the mixture.
- Bake them for 5-10 minutes in the oven at 250°C (475°F) until golden brownish yellow.