Around Christmas time in Sweden, one of the biggest celebrations is St. Lucia's Day (or St. Lucy's Day) on December 13th. The celebration comes from stories that were told by Monks who first brought Christianity to Sweden.
St Lucia was a young Christian girl who was martyred, killed for her faith, in 304AD. The most common story told about St Lucia is that she would secretly bring food to the persecuted Christians in Rome, who lived in hiding in the catacombs under the city. She would wear candles on her head so she had both her hands free to carry things. Lucy means 'light' so this is a very appropriate name. December 13th was also the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year.
We made lussekat buns:
150 g (3 tablespoons) butter
5 dl (2 1/4 cups) milk
2 teaspoons yeast
1 g saffron
2 ml (1/2 teaspoon) salt
1,5 dl (1/2 cup) sugar
17 dl (6 cups) white flour
Egg and raisins for garnishing
Set the oven to 225°C. Melt the butter. Add milk and warm to lukewarm (37°C). Mix out yeast in some of the milk. Crush the saffron in a mortar and pestle, or dissolve it in the milk. Mix milk, yeast, saffron, salt, sugar and whisked egg (and raisins if used) with most of the flour. Work the dough until it lets go of the bowl, adding more flour if necessary. Spread some flour over the dough and cover it with a clean towel. Let it rise to double its size. Work the dough lightly on a floured surface. It should be a light, pliable and rather loose dough. Form wreaths or buns, for example s-shaped. Put them on a non-stick oven paper on an oven tray and let rise for 30-40 minutes.Brush with whisked egg and garnish
with raisins on the rolled-up ends. Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
We read - a fitting Swedish story with fantastic pictures.