Archive for the ‘Love from Sweden’ Category
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
It’s the day for celebrating light in Sweden: the tradition of Lucia.
As the child of a Swede that was intent on preserving tradition, I always knew what would come the morning of the 13th.
In the midst of the pitch black of a winter morning, my mother would gently knock on my door, the sign that I was meant to get up. Propping it open, she would walk away, leaving only the melodic sounds of Lucia sången coming from the downstairs speakers. I would rub my eyes and sleepily crawl out of bed. Outside of my door, a white robe was carefully hung, a thick red sash draped on top.
My favorite Swedish pastry? The semla. There are of course dozens of amazing Swedish baked goods, but this one is special because it only comes once a year. Baking a batch in the middle of summer or early fall? Unacceptable. The semla is meant to be consumed on Fat Tuesday, but of course that can be stretched out to include anytime between New Year’s and Easter.
Back to the semla.