Saffron buns

Saffron buns

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  • 16 buns
  • Easy
  • Fat conscious
  • 1¼ hours
  • 10 minutes
  • Stellar Organics Heaven on Earth Vin de Paille 2003

These traditional Swedish saffron buns are served on Saint Lucia Day on 13 December in Sweden. Make them for any special occasion, breakfast spread or tea. They're studded with raisins and almonds and decorated with crushed sugar lumps.


  • 500 g cake flour
  • 20 g instant dried yeast
  • 100 g butter, at room temperature
  • ½ t saffron
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • ¼ t salt
  • 60 g caster sugar
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 60 g seedless raisins
  • 30 g blanched almonds, chopped
  • Beaten egg, for brushing
  • Crushed sugar lumps, for decorating

Cooking Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 230ºC.

2. In a large bowl, mix about ¾ of the flour with the yeast. Melt a third of the butter and stir into the centre of the flour. Mix the saffron with the warm milk and stir into the flour.

3. Add the salt and 5ml (1t) caster sugar. Mix together, then turn onto a floured board. Knead, adding a dusting of flour if necessary, until smooth and springy. Place in an oiled bowl, turning to coat with oil.

4. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes, until risen. Cream the remaining butter with the remaining caster sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg. Punch down the risen dough.

5. Cover and leave for 5 minutes. Turn the dough onto a floured board and pat out to form a rectangle. Spread with the butter mixture. Sprinkle with the raisins and almonds. Roll up and, gradually working in most of the remaining flour, knead together until smooth and elastic.

6. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and leave for about 10 minutes. Punch down the dough and divide into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a thin sausage. Cut in half and cross the two pieces, pressing firmly in the middle.

7. Place on baking sheets lined with baking paper. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake, one shelf above the centre, for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden. Cool on wire racks.

Cook’s tip: Made ahead, these buns freeze well.

Per serving: 899.6kJ, 4.9g protein, 7.5g fat, 33.8g carbs

The origin of saffron buns:
On 13 December the Swedes celebrate the Saint Lucia Day festival. The eldest daughter of every family wears a long white dress and a crown of candles, and, escorted by her brothers and sisters, presents coffee and traditional saffron buns to her parents. It’s a lovely way to start any holiday.

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Phillippa Cheifitz Recipe by: Phillippa Cheifitz
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Regular TASTE contributor Phillippa is a well-known South African author and food writer, and has won many awards, both for her magazine features and her cookbooks.

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