I was sent this recipe (along with beautiful pictures!) from Emma, an online friend in Norway! She writes:
"I have tried to find a good recipe for Lucia buns online in English - one that would be similar to the very special feast and buns we make here. It was not so easy as there are so many versions. Many of them look very nice but not like the original, so I have tried as best I could to convert my family's very own, an old recipe that is an original Swedish one from generations back...
... As good as these buns are, and so fun to make, and and as much as St. Lucia is a feast for the youngest children too, this recipe is not very kid friendly! The dough is sticky and can be a little hard to work with when you are new to it. I'm usually making it on the December 12th late at night, but my children love to be with me when I open the saffron box and add it it to the milk. It is very important to buy good saffron, which is almost as expensive as gold compared in weight!"
St. Lucia Buns
7 oz (or 1 3/4 stick) butter
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp saffron threads, crushed
2 packages dry active yeast
1 pinch salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, well-beaten
8 cups flour (approx)
raisins and egg white to decorate
1. Have flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a big bowl. (save some flour for the kneading)
2. Melt butter. Add milk and let it get finger warm (100 F). Add saffron to the warm milk and enjoy the beautiful color!
3. Mix it into to flour and add the eggs, mix well with wooden spoon, cover and let stay for 1-1 1/2 hour.
4. Heat oven to 475 degrees F and cover the baking sheet with nonstick spray.
5. Take dough from bowl to lightly flour dusted table, knead some. It will be sticky, but do not use too much flour! Cut dough in 2, then each half in 4, then 4 again.
6. Work with the dough bits, Shape each bun to a S, or other shape (see photos) and put on baking sheet. Decorate with raisins. Let them rest under towel for about 15 minutes.
7. Use baking brush to put egg on the buns.
8. Bake high in oven for about 8 minutes. Be careful, they should be golden but not brown. They smell amazing!
9. Remove the buns and let them cool under a towel, keep them in plastic bag or freeze as soon as possible as they dry out sooner then ordinary buns.
Yields: 32 wonderful buns