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Christmas fika
A Swedish christmas fika consists of lussebullar, a sweet saffron bun with raisins, served together with glögg, which is a form of spicy mulled wine.
Photo credit: Magnus Carlsson/

Saffronbuns aka lussekatter – recipe

Along with gingerbread, saffron buns are a typical cake Swedes make for Advent and Lucia in the run up until Christmas. This sweet, saffron-flavoured bun, known as a Lucia cat (or lussekatt) is typically shaped into the letter ‘s’ to look like a curled up cat, with raisins for decoration to resemble the cat’s eyes


About 35 buns


50 g of fresh yeast
2.5 dl room temperature whole milk
100 g caster sugar
350 g wheat flour

2.5 dl of room temperature whole milk
150 g of granulated sugar
200 g butter cut into pieces
10 g of salt
750 g wheat flour
1 egg
1- 1,5 g of saffron


Begin with the starter. Dissolve the yeast in the milk, either by hand or in a stand mixer.  Add the sugar and flour and work everything to an elastic dough. About 5 minutes in the stand mixer or 10 minutes by hand. Cover the dough and leave to rise to double size in room tempered place for about 30 minutes.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add the saffron, just letting the saffron fry a minute in the hot butter. (This makes the saffron taste more and better) Let cool for a short while and then add this to the starter together with the rest of the ingredients for the finish. Work the dough properly until the dough is lovely yellow and elastic.  

This takes about 15 minutes by hand or 10 minutes in stand mixer. Don´t cheat with this, you want a lot of gluten in the dough and a really elastic dough. On a floured surface, divide the dough into small pieces, all weighing about 70 grams each. Round-roll (roll) to smooth round buns and gently transfer them to a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Make sure to leave some space between the buns as they will grow to about double the size) Leave the buns covered to rise to about double the size.  

Roll the “dough-cigars” into thinner strings on a clean surface (no flour) Then shape these thin strings into “lussekatter” by spinning each end to each other in different directions, on to the left and one to the right. (the end result should look a bit like the number 8) Push 1-2 raisins in the middle of each "spin". Put the buns gently on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Let the buns rest in a cool place (like in a cold basement on in the fridge) for about 4-5 hours. Then take the trays to room temperature and allow to rest until the buns are fluffy and about twice as large. Bake in the middle of the oven at 220°C / 435°F until they start to get a little golden-brown color and brush immediately after they get out of the oven with loosely whipped egg to make them shiny and nice. Let the buns cool and freeze those that are not eaten on the same day.

Recipe by Lisa Lemke

Article sponsored by

EU and Swedish Board of Agriculture