The LussekatterThe "Gatti" (Cats) of Saint Lucia or "Lussekatter" are a sort of sweetbread with Saffron and added raisins. Since the XVII Centure, this recipe is part of the Swedish traditional cookery and is prepared throughout the Christmas period and beyond, until Springtime.

According to tradition, on the morning of Saint Lucia Day, the youngest daughter in the family, must wear a white dress with a red ribbon to honour the Saint Lucia bride. A crown of Bilberry leaves with white candles is also to be worn. The daughter will then have to prepare breakfast for all the family, including the Lussekatter sweetbread, as well as other food, typical of this abundant Nordic meal.

The origins of the name Lussekatter are uncertain , however according to certain Lusse translations, it appears to derive from the word Lucifer, the devil. Whilst Katter in Swedish means cat. The folklore legend narrates that Lucifer , under the appearance of a cat, distracted the young girls' attention, while Baby Jesus distributed the Saint Lucia sweetbread, which golden colour protected from the darkness of evil. That is the reason for which Saffron was included in the ingredients of this Christmas sweetbread.

Ingredients for 40 sweetbreads with Saffron

50 g of yeast for sweetbread

200 g Unsalted Butter

500 g Milk

1 Beaten Egg to brush on the sweetbread

1 sachet of Saffron

170 g of Sugar

1000 g of "00" Flour (approximately)

Raisins for the "kittens' eyes"


Put the yeast in a bowl, melt the butter in a pan and add the warm milk. Subsequently, add the Saffron and sugar to the milk. Take the pan off the heat and stir. Should the milk be too hot it will prevent the fermentation of the yeast. Add the yeast to the milk and amalgamate.

Subsequently, add the sifted flour and the egg. Transfer the mixture on a working surface and amalgamate until the dough is smooth.

The mixture must be left for 2 hours to rise. Subsequently, divide the dough to form lines of 20/25cm, in a "S" shape, by curving the ends. Place the Lussekater in a oven tray and add the raisins for the eyes. Then brush with the beaten egg.

Finally, cook the sweetbread in the pre-heated oven for approximately 25 minutes until light brown. Leave to cool and then serve. It is advisable to consume immediately. Alternatively, the sweetbread should be kept in the freezer when cool. If they are reheated , the sweetbreads will be as freshly baked.