13 December 2010

Lucia Day.

Part of my Lucia collection.

I was named after my sweet Grandmother Lucia.
And I, in turn, named my daughter Lucia (Loosha).
December 13th is St. Lucia Day.
Every year, I receive a Swedish Lucia trinket in the mail from my Grandma Lucia and my mother.
This collection is one of my most prized possessions as it represents my connection to my grandmother Lucia and my Swedish ancestors.

St. Lucia is the symbol of light in the dark Swedish winters. A "LUCIA" usually dresses in a white gown with a red sash and a wreath on her head adorned with candles. The crown is made of Lingonberry branches which are evergreen and symbolize new life in winter. Traditionally, the eldest daughter wakes up before the sun and presents her family with Saffron buns. This is a tradition I look forward to continuing year after year (even though MY Lucia is more Swiss--50%--than she is Swedish! The Swiss have equally wonderful traditions that we hope to implement).

The Lucia Buns are beautiful and fun to make, especially since there is meaning behind them.St. Lucia Saffron Buns.
(6 buns)

1/3 c milk
1/4 c butter
1/4 c lukewarm water
1 pkg dry yeast
1/4 c sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp saffron
2 3/4 c flour
1 Tbsp cooking oil
1 egg
1 Tbsp water
24 raisins

Warm the milk in small saucepan over low heat. Cut butter into small pieces. Add the butter to the warm milk and stir, then turn off heat.

Measure water into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the water. Stir well. Set aside bowl for 5 minutes.

Add warm milk and butter to the yeast. Stir in sugar, 1 egg, salt, and saffron. Then add 1 1/2 c of the flour and stir until smooth.

Add enough remaining flour to shape the dough into a ball. Save some flour for kneading. Put the dough on a floured surface and knead the dough.

After 5 to 10 minutes of kneading (it should spring back when poked), cover the dough with a towel and let it rest while you wash and dry the bowl.

Spread cooking oil in large bowl and roll the dough ball in it until it is well coated. Cover with a towel and let it rise for about 45 minutes. It should double in size.

Punch down the dough and divide into six pieces. Make two ropes out of each piece. Cross one over the other and coil the ends. Shape 5 more buns in the same way.

Place buns 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Cover with towel and let rise for another 30-45 minutes until they double in size. Preheat oven to 350.

Mix egg with water to create a wash. Brush over the buns and decorate with raisins.

Bake buns for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

God Jul and Happy St. Lucia Day!

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