Lucia is a traditional Scandinavian Saint's day (celebrated on the 13th December with both pagan and Christian origins. One mandatory constituent in the celebrations is a saffron-flavoured bun; in Swedish called a lussekatt, a "Lucia cat".
We had a go at making them:
5 oz butter
2 cups milk
1 1/2 packets active dry yeast
1/2 gram of saffron
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 to 7 cups plain flour
egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon of water, lightly beaten)
Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until melted. Leave to cool to blood temperature and whisk in yeast. Grind saffron with a mortar and pestle and add it to the milk. Add milk to the butter and stir. Add sugar,and egg. Transfer to a large bowl and add flour three cups at a time working it in with your hands as you go. Cover with a dish cloth and let rise for 40 minutes. Once dough has risen, knead it for 5 minutes and then roll it between your hands to form ten inch snakes. Shape each snake into an S and place a raisin into the centre of each twirl. Place buns on greased baking trays and cover with a cloth. Let them rest for 30 minutes. Bake them for 5-10 minutes in the oven at 250 oC (475 oF) until golden brownish yellow.
They were yummy - but don't keep well! So best eat on day of baking!