Thursday, 12 December 2013


In primary schools all over Scandinavia, the 13th of December is known as Santa Lucia-day. Most pupils wouldn't know the whole back story to it, and to be honest I had to look it up myself whenever I decided I was going to make Lussekatter. There are so many stories and they all sound different from one another, and so I'll just tell you what exactly I remember.

Every 13th of December, a group from one of the younger classes would dress up as little angels, or saints, and one would get to be Santa Lucia. The other children would wear lovely white little robes, and usually paperhaps they had made themselves, and hold a candle, whilst Santa Lucia would be at the very front, wearing almost like a halo-like crown, and holding a big basket full of these lovely little baked goods! They would go from classroom to classroom and make sure that everyone at the school, teachers included, would get one.

Out in the halls, the lights would be switched off, and down the hall, you could see candles, and little feet shuffling excitedly along, looking around, singing:

Svart senker natten seg
I stall og stue
Solen har gått sin vei,
Skyggene truer
Inn i vårt mørke hus
Stiger med tente lys,
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia

Natten er mørk og stum
Med ett det suser
I alle tyste rom
Som vinger bruser
Se, på vår terskel står
Hvitkledd med lys i hår
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia

Mørke skal flykte snart
Fra jordens daler
Slik hun et underfullt
Ord til oss taler
Dagen skal atter ny
Stige av røde sky
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia

(10 lussekatter, about 140 calories each)

50g Flora light (or light butter)
150ml semi-skimmed milk
20g fresh yeast
1g saffron (of 1/2 tsp tumeric)
50g sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 tsp ground cardamom
4 dl flour, preferably all-plain (I mixed half and half wholemeal and plain, about 240g)

1 whisked egg for brushing
Raisins for decorating

- In a small pot, heat up the butter and milk until it is 37°C (body temperature, if you stick your finger into it, it should almost feel as if it isn't there). Turn off the heat and crumble in the yeast. Stir until it is all dissolved and back to liquid consistency.

- Mix all your dry ingredients in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour in your yeast mixture and stir well. Now knead the dough, add a little more flour or milk (1 tsp at a time, as a tiny bit makes a big difference!) should it be necessary. Place it back in the bowl and leave in a fairly warm place to rise to double its size (about 1-2 hours).

- On a floured surface, tip your dough out, and knead well. Divide the dough into about 20 bits and roll into sausages before shaping them.

- Place them on a baking clad baking tray and cover with plastic, and leave them to rise for at least a further 15 minutes, up to 45 minutes if you have the patience!

- Now, pre-heat your oven at 250°C, and brush each lussekatt with some egg, and decorate with a few raisins on each. Place the tray in the middle of the oven and bake them for about 7-10 minutes (Keep a close eye on them!) until they are nice and golden. Leave on a rack to cool, and enjoy!

Lussekatter can come in many shapes and twirls, here, you have "lussekatt" at the top left, "lily" on the top right, "christmas pig" on the bottom left, and lastly the "lily".

I know they are supposed to be more yellow in appearance, but because I used about half and half with wholemeal flour, the saffron didn't shine through as well - still as tasty though!

Original source:

- Jules

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