Makes about 20 buns *
Santa_Lucia, was a young martyr who probably lived sometime in the late third century. She is one of the few Catholic and Orthodox saints who is celebrated by the primarily Lutheran Scandinavians. It is traditional on her saints day, December 13th, for the youngest daughter in the family to go from room to room wearing a long white gown and a wreath of holly and candles, and awaken the family with hot coco and fresh hot Santa Lucia Buns.
1 recipe Rich Yeast Dough
A pinch of saffron (optional)
Egg wash – (1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water)
Raw, Turbinado or Demerrara sugar
Follow the recipe for rich dough with the following variation:
Before beginning, steep the pinch of saffron in the warm water that will be used for the sponge. Continue as directed for the remainder of the recipe.
After the second rising, pinch off pieces of dough and roll into snakes about 1/2 inch thick and eight inches long. Form into "S" curves as pictured and place about two inches apart on a baking sheet lined with baker’s parchment. Paint each with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with raw sugar. Flatten a raisin and push into the center of the scroll at each end of the "S" curve. Allow to sit until risen to almost double their original size. Bake in a preheated 350°F - (180°C or Gas mark 4) oven for about twenty-five to thirty minutes, or until golden brown. As soon as the buns come out of the oven, paint liberally with baker’s syrup. Serve warm or at room temperature with hot coco for a traditional Santa Lucia Day breakfast.
* This amount of dough will make about 20 to 24 buns. If you do not want that many buns, make as many buns as you wish and form the remaining dough into a loaf of bread.