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Lucia, lusse buns and light

Swedish recipe

Sweden is very dark in the wintertime, but the tradition of Lucia, brings back the light and from now on, it´s only getting lighter up here in the north.

The Lucia tradition can be traced back both to St Lucia of Syracuse, a martyr who died in 304, and to the Swedish legend of Lucia as Adam’s first wife. It is said that she consorted with the Devil and that her children were invisible infernals. Thus the name may be associated with both lux (light) and Lucifer (Satan), and its origins are difficult to determine. The present custom appears to be a blend of traditions. Read more about Lucia Here.

I like traditions, and one of the favorites is Lucia, which is on the 13th of December every year. Each Lucia I get up early in the morning, make coffee and heat baked lussebuns in the oven and watch the Lucia celebration on TV.
I have done this as long as I can remember, with my children when they were little and still obeyed me, with my neighbor who emigrated from Sweden but soon returned home and never seen it before, and with my partner, who passed out on the couch because it was to early in the morning.
But I’m awake, sitting on the couch and enjoying it as much now as when I was little.

I can not resist it – picture the darkness, a cottage, a disused ironworks or a church, blazing torches, horses, sleighbells and hearing the Lucia procession coming …. far away … in the dark … singing and the song gets louder and louder until you see Lucia in her white robe, with lights in her hair and a bunch of newly awakened bridesmaids and star boys. Then I cut into my freshly baked buns and drinking my coffee to the tune of “Santa Lucia” … It´s a great moment in life.

Here you go!

Buns and saffron buns
Approximately 15 of each

Dough 1
700g plain flour
25 g granulated sugar
500 g milk
75 g yeast

Lusse dough
1300g dough 1
500g plain flour
175 g granulated sugar
20 g of sea salt
3 g saffron
50 g (1) eggs
250g softened butter

Approximately 2 cup raisins
1 egg


1 Add the raisins to soak for 30 minutes. Drain.

Dough 1
1. Weigh out flour and sugar and dissolve yeast in cold milk. Add 1.5 g of saffron.
2. Mix the flour, sugar, yeast and milk in a kitchen aid and knead the dough on low speed for about 5-6 minutes.
3. Place the dough in a plastic bowl or plastic box with lid and let it rise for 45 minutes.

Lusse dough
1.Put dough 1 in a bowl (do you have a small kitchen aid, split the dough and the ingredients for the Lusse dough in half and make it in two batches.)
2. Pour in the flour, sugar, salt, and the rest of saffron and knead the dough on low speed for about 5-6 minutes.
3. Add the butter in small pieces and increase speed. Run on high speed for about 10 minutes.
4. Place the dough in a plastic bowl or plastic container with a lid and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Cecius ( 482 degrees Farenheit)

Lusse cats
1.Split dough into two pieces. Cut up about 15 pieces of one half and shape into buns.
2 Place on greased baking sheet, brush with egg and insert raisins. Let buns rise for 45 minutes. Bake in the oven for about 8-9 minutes.

Lusse buns
1 Roll out the dough into a rectangle, sprinkle raisins on the bottom half of the rectangle, and fold over the top half. Roll flat. Fold the dough in half (short side to short side) and roll again. Cut strips (about 2 cm wide) of the dough, twist them once and then twist them into buns.
2 Brush with egg, and let buns rise for 45 minutes. Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes.


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Pernilla Elmquist

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