Scandinavians celebrate St. Lucia’s Day on 13th December. December 13th was originally thought to be the shortest day of the year and is still the date chosen in Sweden to celebrate the return of lighter days. The celebrations are one of the highlights of the Swedish calendar and the Saint Lucia procession is truly magical.Young girls are dressed in white robes with a red sash, with one girl selected as “Lucia Bride” who wears a crown of lit candles. At home, the eldest girl dresses up in robe, sash, and candle crown, and delivers coffee and lussebullar, or S shaped saffron buns to her parents for breakfast.
1 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp. saffron threads, finely crumbled
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 pkg. dry active yeast (4 1/2 tsp.)
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs, well-beaten
How to Make It
Crumble saffron threads into melted butter. Let sit 30 minutes to an hour (this intensifies the saffron flavor).
Heat milk to a light boil, turning off heat when it reaches the scalding point (with small bubbles across the top). Stir in melted butter, sugar, and salt. Pour mixture into mixing bowl and let cool until about 115°F (45 °C) , or warm to the touch, but not hot.. Stir in yeast and let sit for 10 minutes.
Mix 3 1/2 cups flour into liquid. Stir in two well-beaten eggs. Add enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough (just until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You don’t want to add too much flour).
Transfer dough to a large greased bowl and turn to coat all sides. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch down risen dough. Lightly knead two or three times on a floured surface. Pinch off small handfuls of dough and roll into “snakes.” Then curl the ends in opposite directions, forming an “S” with spirals at each end. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough shapes double in size, 30 minutes to an hour.
Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). Using a pastry brush, brush beaten egg over the tops and sides of the uncooked buns. Place raisins in the centers of the “S” spirals.
Place in the oven and bake at 400°F (205°C) for about 10 to 11 minutes (turning halfway through cooking to ensure even browning), until the buns are golden brown