December sun – Lussekatter or Swedish Saffron Buns

Lussekatter or Swedish Saffron Buns-4

I’m sorry I am here again so soon, maybe too soon, but I just have to post this recipe today as it is the right day for it – it is St Lucia after all. I have posted about it ages ago but in this version I have added some whole wheat flour and as I never liked raisins in bread or buns, I have substituted them with dried cranberries but you are obviously free to revert back to the more traditional version. There is a lot of butter in the dough but I promise you that it is worth it, not only do they taste better, they don’t dry out as quickly because the saffron tends to dry out breads quickly. I only make these around Christmas, one upon a time I was more orthodox and only made them for the 13th of December but nowadays I do make them for Christmas as well because my mother-in-law loves them so much. And to be honest I’m happy that I have loosened up a bit because Lussekatter are so good to eat!
Updated: If you are interested I have just posted a few photos from the Christmas food catalogue that I have talked about here on my photography blog.

Lussekatter or Swedish Saffron Buns-5


 25 g/0,9 oz fresh yeast (1 tsp instant yeast = 10 g fresh yeast)
200 g/ 7 oz butter
500 ml/2,1 cup milk
1 g/0,01 oz saffron powder
200 ml/0,85 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp salt
around 1 500 ml/6,3 cups flour, 2/3 normal flour and 1/3 light wholewheat flour
1 egg
dried cranberries (or raisins)

    Crumble the yeast in large bowl, add the sugar, cardamom and saffron and let the yeast ‘melt’. If you stir now and then, it melts quite quickly. I know this is supposed to be bad for the yeast but I never had a problem  so you choose if you prefer to mix the yeast with a little warm milk instead before you add it all.

   Melt the butter in a pan, add the milk and warm it up to finger warm, strictly speaking it should be 37°C/98°F

   Pour the liquid on the yeast, stir well and add most of the flour and the salt. Work it really well before you put it away to rise for an hour. Now if you choose use wholewheat flour, you might have to add a little more but be careful not to add too much as it makes a stodgy Lussekatt and that is not nice.

   Put the dough on a table dusted with flour and work it until it is smooth.

   Divide the dough into balls slightly smaller than your fist and make ‘serpents’ that you form like the letter S or into other shapes.

   Put the buns on baking sheets with parchment paper on and leave rise for about 40 minutes.

   Whisk the egg and brush the buns with it before you add the cranberries in strategic places, see photo.

   Bake in a pre-heated oven (225°C/440°F) for 10 minutes. Leave them to cool on a rack before you start eating them, as we all know, eating hot buns can give you stomach pains and who wants that?

Lussekatter or Swedish Saffron Buns-3