I’d never heard of Lussekatter until a couple of days ago when someone on social media said that they were spending the day making them in preparation for St Lucia Day/St Lucy’s day. These pretty saffron buns are eaten in Scandinavia on 13th December to celebrate the Patron Saint of Light. At one time, prior to calendar reforms, the 13th December coincided with the shortest day of the year. In parts of Europe the return of lighter days is certainly something to be celebrated. Young girls dress in white with red sashes, one is chosen as Lucia (distinguished by her crown of candles), and they parade through the streets singing. If you are interested to learn more, take a look at the video below!
These S shaped saffron buns are really satisfying to make and taste fantastic too. They are fluffy and light and have just a hint of sweetness. I guess you could add a little more sugar if you have a sweet tooth but I thought they were great just the way they are.
A lot of the recipes I found when researching them contained Quark, an ingredient that wasn’t available in any of the shops over here (I know, I looked). I improvised and used a mixture of sour cream and full fat milk. Quark is a dairy product made by heating soured cream until it curdles so I guess that the taste hasn’t altered too much with my changes. You will also notice that I used fresh yeast in this recipe. I do like working with fresh yeast but if you don’t and you prefer to use dry active yeast, just use half the amount (12 gms).
As for the shaping of Lussekatter (which is translated to Lucia Cats), it is suggested that they are shaped this way to signify a curled up cat, or a cats tail, or a devil cat with the raisins as the cats eyes! I don’t see it really but my dog Lola certainly seemed interested in trying one!