The night treads heavily
around yards and dwellings
In places unreached by sun,
the shadows brood
Into our dark house she comes,
bearing lighted candles,
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.

St. Lucy and her handmaiden, last year
St. Lucy and her handmaiden, last year

Tonight we’ll prepare the buns for the Feast of St. Lucy.  Rising before the sun, St. Lucy and her handmaiden will carry a laden platter to each room, serving each family member in remembrance of our beloved saint…

Here’s a recipe  from http://www.inmamaskitchen.com for Lussekatter also called St. Lucy’s Buns.

St. Lucy’s day marks the opening of the Christmas season in Sweden. Lussekatter are their delicious saffron buns made in any number of figures: cats, “s” shapes, or figure eights.

* 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
* 8 ounces (1 cup) milk
* 1 tablespoon yeast
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 4 ounces (1 stick) butter
* 5 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 2 large eggs, beaten
* 1 beaten egg white for egg wash

METHOD

Using a mortar and pestle, pound saffron threads to break down strands.

In a small saucepan, heat milk to lukewarm.

Mix yeast with 1/4 cup milk and 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside.

On low heat, melt butter in saucepan with milk. Add crushed saffron. Let cool.

In large bowl, mix together flour salt and remaining sugar.

Stir yeast into cooled milk mixture. Mix into dry ingredients, beating to mix well. Add beaten eggs. Knead in bowl for 5 – 7 minutes. Turn onto floured board and knead another 7 – 8 minutes.

Put dough in lightly greased bowl, turn to coat all sides, cover and put in warm, draft-free place to rise for about 1 hour.

When dough has risen, knead lightly to push out air and divide into small pieces (about 10 – 12). Using the hands, roll each small piece into a strip about 8 – 10 inches long. Shape each strip into an ‘S’ or a figure 8. Place on lightly buttered cookie sheets.

Cover with clean cloth and let rise again until double in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

When dough has risen, brush lightly with egg white. Bake in preheated 375° F oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool on wire rack.

Yield: 10 – 12 buns