To explain this blog post, we need to go back two days, to December 13th, one of the darkest days in Winter, which in Norway is known as Luciadagen(Saint Lucy’s Day). Santa Lucia, or Saint Lucy as she goes by in English was a 3rd-century martyr, who according to the legend brought “food and aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs”, using a candle-lit wreath to “light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible”.
Her feast once coincided with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year before calendar reforms, so her feast day has become a festival of light, an event signaling the arrival of Christmas. It is no wonder that this tradition is most commonly celebrated in Scandinavia, with our long and dark winters. The day is celebrated with children walking in procession wearing white dresses, and “Lucia” in front wearing a candle-lit wreath or crown(normally fake candles, haha). The procession is often accompanied by a special song: The best version I could find of this song was the Swedish version, which you can listen to here.
On December 13th we also always bake a special type of Lucia buns, called Lussekatter, which are buns with saffron in them. Me and two other friends, one Norwegian and one Swedish, decided to have a real Christmassy day yesterday filled with Christmas music, Christmas movies and of course baking Lussekatter. I thought I’d share the simple recipe with you guys in case you want to try a Scandinavian pre-Christmas treat!
All you need is:
150 g butter
5 dl milk
50 g yeast
1 g saffron (or 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, but saffron is better)
150 g sugar
2 teaspoons cardamom
13 dl flour
Then all you have to do is shape the buns into the weird shapes shown above, which is the “original” lussekatt-shape, or whatever shape you’d like! They only take about 10 mins in the oven on 250 degrees Celsius. Normally we also put raisins on the buns, but since none of us bakers liked raisins we couldn’t be bothered.
As you can see, we made some real pieces of art!
Do you celebrate Saint Lucy’s day where you are from or anything similar?