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St. Lucia saffron buns

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Serves Makes 12 | Prep Time | Cook Time

Why I Love This Recipe

In Sweden, and other Scandinavian countries, saffron rolls are baked only during the Christmas holidays, starting with St. Lucia’s Day on December 13th, also known as the Festival of Light.

Ingredients You'll Need

1 tsp saffron threads
240ml milk
50g/1,7 oz./¼ cup unsalted butter
100g/3,5 oz./½ cup sour cream (if you don’t have sour cream, squeeze a few drop of lemon juice into your cream and let stand for 5-10 minutes, or use Greek yogurt)
500g/1lb/4 cups bread flour
50g/1,7 oz./¼ cup caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1½ tsp active dry yeast
24 raisins or sultanas
1 egg, beaten
Optional: 2 tbsp brandy, ½ tsp ground cardamom


Combine the milk and saffron threads, and heat in a pan or in the microwave until warm. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Melt the butter in the microwave or in a separate pan, and allow to cool before stirring it into the milk.

Sift the flour into a bowl. Add the sugar, baking powder and salt, and mix with a wooden spoon.

Add the yeast and mix.

Stir in the milk and sour cream. Bring together to form a dough.

Lightly flour your working surface, tip the dough and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with Clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm spot for 1½ hours or until it has doubled in size.

Grease two baking trays, or line them with baking paper.

Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock it back in one or two punches.

Divide into 12 equal pieces (mine were about 80g/2,8 oz. each).

Roll out each piece into a 25 cm/10 in. cylinder and roll each end in so as to form and S shape.

Place on the baking sheets and add a raisin into the centre of each of the two “eyes” of the rolls.

Cover with a towel and let rise for 45 minutes, or until the buns have doubled in size again.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F.

Beat the egg and brush over the buns.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack before serve warm with cold milk, hot chocolate… or a cup of glögg (mulled wine).


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