Saffron Lucia Buns | DonalSkehan.com, A classic Swedish Christmas baking recipe.
  • christmas

Saffron Lucia Buns

December 05
A classic Swedish baking recipe which is made in my wife Sofie’s family every year without fail. On my first visit to Gothenburg, Sofie’s grandmother taught me the recipe in a full Mrs. Claus outfit- a memory I won’t forget. In Sweden, sachets of saffron are so sought after, they are kept behind the counter in supermarkets. Be warned this is an unusual tasting bun and if you prefer you can sweeten further with a couple of extra tablespoons of sugar.
  • serves Serves 12
  • time 90mins


  1. 1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. 2. If the saffron isn’t already ground, grind in a pestle and mortar.
  3. 3. Melt the butter in a large pan gently on a low heat and then add the milk. When the mixture is lukewarm, remove from the heat and stir through the saffron.
  4. 4. Mix the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and cardamom in a large electric mixer.
  5. 5. Make a well and pour the wet ingredients in. Using a wooden spoon mix until you have a rough dough.
  6. 6. When the dough has taken shape and is no longer sticky, turn out onto a clean-floured surface and knead for about 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Dust with a little flour if you find the dough is too sticky.
  7. 7. Transfer the dough to a floured bowl, cover with cling film and let it rise for 45 minutes in a warm place.
  8. 8. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
  9. 9. When the dough has risen, punch it down in the bowl and divide it into equal pieces approx 85g in weight or roughly the size of your palm. Roll each piece into a long sausage and swirl in the ends to meet the middle forming an “S” shape. Decorate the centre of each swirl with a raisin. Transfer each bun to lined baking sheets leaving 5cm approx. between them to allow for rising.
  10. 10. Mix the ingredients for the glaze and brush over each bun.
  11. 11. Bake the rolls in the oven for 15 minutes or until they are risen and golden brown. The buns are incredible eaten just warm from the oven.


For the dough:

110g butter

400ml milk

600g plain flour

1 x 7g sachets dried yeast

110g caster sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp ground cardamom

7g envelope saffron

1 large free range egg, beaten

Approx. 40 raisins

For the glaze:

1 large free range egg, beaten

1 tbsp full fat milk


You'll Need

Baking sheet x 2

Parchment paper

Large Pan

Electric mixer

Wooden spoon