St. Lucia Saffron Buns Recipe

By Patrice Johnson |

St. Lucia saffron buns can be shaped in numerous forms. The most popular today are LussekatterJulkronor, and Julgaltar. Interestingly, Lussekatter are a reference to Lucia’s relationship with Lucifer and the cat-form witches were said to assume.

Adapted from Aquavit: The New Scandinavian Cuisine

Prep Details

Servings: 12

Calories per serving: 220 per serving

Prep time: 3.5 hours (plus rising time)

Cooking time: 30 mins

Total time: 4 hours


2 cups milk, heated to just under 110 degrees

1 tsp vanilla

1 package active dry yeast

½ cup sugar

2 tbsp brandy

1 tsp powdered saffron

Zest from 2 tangerines

4 ½ to 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp salt

¼ cup dried cranberries, chopped fine plus 24 whole

Powdered sugar

juice squeezed from tangerines


Photo:  macro man

Photo: macro man

1. Combine milk, vanilla, yeast, and a pinch of the sugar in a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. In another small bowl combine brandy, 1 teaspoon of the sugar, saffron, and zest; stir to dissolve.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together 4 cups of flour, remaining sugar, cardamom, and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk-yeast mixture and saffron brandy. Stir to form soft dough, gradually adding more flour as necessary.

3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Knead in the chopped cranberries.

4. Shape the dough into a ball; place in large oiled bowl, turning to coat, and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rise until doubled; about 2 hours.

5. Gently fold dough and divide into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into an S and place the rolls 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Push whole cranberry into each crease of the “S.” Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise until almost doubled; about 1 hour.

6. Bake the rolls in preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until each roll sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on rack then brush with glaze of powdered sugar and tangerine juice.