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Catholic Recipe: St. Lucy's Cats (lussekatter)


  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups flour
  • pinch saffron
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk, undiluted
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • currants
  • sugar
  • Glaze
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water.


Prep Time: 2 1/2 hours

Difficulty: • • •

Cost: $$$$

For Ages:15+

Origin: Sweden


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Also Called: Saffron Buns

Lussekatter or Leissi Katter are yellow Swedish saffron buns shaped like cats for the feast of St. Lucy (or Lucia). The buns are in the shape of cat with currant eyes.


Dissolve yeast in warm water. Set aside for 5 minutes. Combine 2 cups flour, saffron, sugar, egg, evaporated milk, butter and salt. Mix thoroughly. Add yeast mixture and mix thoroughly. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth — about 10 minutes.

Place in greased bowl, turning to coat top. Cover; let rise in warm place until double — about 1 hour. Punch down dough. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into 12 inch rope. Shape in one of the methods as directed below:

Cut piece of dough in half. Crisscross the 2 ropes on the baking sheet. Then curl ends in same direction.

Bend rope into a V, curling ends.

Cut rope in half. Arrange the 2 resulting ropes back to back, curling ends.

Place on greased baking sheet. Cover; let rise in warm place until double — about 20 minutes.

Place a currant in each curl. Make glaze. Brush buns with glaze and sprinkle with more sugar. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven about 25 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack.

Recipe Source: Festive Bread Book, The by Kathy Cutler, Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1982