Celebrate Lucia Day with Swedish Saffron Buns (or a Cake)
December 13th marks the celebration of Lucia Day, an essential tradition on the Swedish holiday calendar. This is where all of the photos of children dressed in long white dresses with red sashes and wreaths in their hair come from. Ultimately, it’s a celebration of light – which is no surprise given the dark, Swedish winter – and whoever is crowned Lucia wears a wreath of candles in her hair.
The traditional treat served on Lucia Day is saffron buns. Bright yellow from the spice, these sweet, yeasted buns are formed into a variety of shapes (some of which are pictured in this vintage illustration) and served with a cup of coffee or mug of glögg.
Want to celebrate Lucia Day yourself? Here are a few recipes to help:
Swedish Saffron Buns – This is the classic recipe, complete with a few more illustrations of different forms that you can make.
Saffron Cake with Hazelnut and Whiskey Filling – I always like making a cake out of the saffron bun dough, and filling it with almond paste. This year I did something a little different and made the filling out of hazelnuts. With a dash of whiskey for good holiday cheer!
Saffron Bun Cookies – A gluten-free recipe, inspired by the traditional saffron buns. The cookies are made with rice flour and ground almonds, then twisted into the classic saffron bun shapes.
Images: Anna Brones, Viriditas