Christmas Recipe

Saffron Buns with White Chocolate Filling

Link to photoless recipe for printing purposes
saffron bun with white choclate filling

In Sweden it is traditional to bake lussekatter around early December. These are saffron buns with raisins and tend to balance on a love or hate line with most. I wasn’t a huge fan growing up, raisins’ fault. I now consume scrunched up ol’ grapes on a daily basis, so happily eat raisiny baked goods. Except perhaps Christmas pudding; you can’t even kill it with fire! (I’m sure it’s lovely if you are raised with it..) In the UK I found myself craving saffron only having mince pies, crusty themed cupcakes and saccharine gingerbread men to choose from at Christmassy cafe visits to Costa. 

Sweden is a land of fika (socialising with food and refreshments, like a tea/coffee break) and we take our Christmas baking preparations seriously! The recipe I am about to share was sent to me by my dad in an email simply stating “Order for Frida:” and a link to a Lindas Bakskola recipe. No ifs, ands or buts here! Luckily a good friend of mine loves baking and on condition that I pre-made the dough and provided plenty of tea, I had a helper on the way! 

baking ingredients


Makes around 24 buns

  •  ½ g of saffron
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  •  3½ dl milk
  • 25g live yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ¾ dl granulated sugar
  • 75g butter
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom seeds (or more!)
  • 12-14 dl white flour
  • (I added ½tsp vanilla powdered sugar)


  • 150g white chocolate
  • 50g butter
  • 2 tbs powdered sugar


sugar added to pestle and mortarpestle and mortar
Start by grinding down the sugar and saffron into a fine powder
heating milk
Heat the milk until it is finger temperature, if it is too warm leave it to cool otherwise the yeast will die or be overstimulated and your buns will not rise properly
chopped butter
Take out the butter to allow it to soften
ingredients in a bowl
Add the egg, remaining sugar, salt  and if desired vanilla sugar in a large bowl
saffron milk
Add the ground saffron sugar to the warm milk and mix. Watch as the beautiful saffron yellow colour takes over! 
fridanoodle baking
cardamom seeds
Grind cardamom seeds. I added an extra teaspoon as it’s my favorite spice. If I could smell of one thing for the rest of my days it would be cardamom. I actually used to carry a small bag of cardamom seeds to sniff at from time to time when I was younger. Weird, I know. If anyone knows of a cardamom scented perfume please, please, please share your secret!
woman using pestle and mortaringredients in bowl
Add the ground cardamom to the bowl
live yeast and saffron milk
crumbling yeast into milk
pouring saffron milk into bowl
Crumble the live yeast into the warm saffron milk. I loved doing this as a kid, live yeast has such an interesting smell and texture. It almost melts if you rub it but crumbles at a pinch. Once the yeast is dissolved in the milk pour the mixture into the bowl. 
batter with butter
flour in batter
mixing ingredients in a bowl
yellow dough in flour
Add the softened butter and slowly add the flour, mixing as you go along until you start to get a dough  
kneading saffron bun dough
saffron bun dough

Really work the dough for a few minutes until it stops feeling too sticky. Allow the dough to rise for 50-60 minutes under a baking cloth

risen saffron bun dough
saffron bun cups
Once the dough has risen divide it in half and then again, making it easier to make even buns by doing 4 lots of 6 buns. Create little cups for the filling, making sure not to overwork the dough as it will make them compact again.  My friend arrived around this time, so I was distracted by good chat and forgot to take a few photos of the last part. 
filling saffron buns
For the filling chop the white chocolate and mix it with the powdered sugar and remaining butter, into a paste. Add about a teaspoon into each bun and seal this by folding the edges over. When you do this try and work them into round balls, but once again be careful not to over do it. Allow them to rise for 30 minutes under a cloth before baking in the middle of the oven at 250C.
saffron buns from oven
The original recipe states that you can melt butter and dip them while they are warm in sugar, however we felt these buns were indulgent enough as it is so skipped this step. Diabetes prevention points!
saffron bun with white chocolate filling
Enjoy warm with a cup of tea, coffee, or friends,  family, or alone out of boredom. They go with anything really!buns in the freezer
You can also freeze these bad boys to make sure they last until Christmas..To defrost you can leave them out, or pop them in a microwave for just under a minute. Wrap them in some paper towels when you do this to prevent that horrible microwaved soggy yet hard texture. Please note that the pictures of the ones being eaten are microwaved, so they do lose a bit of the roundness, but still taste amazing. 
Make these for your next fika or for Christmas and you will be very popular!
Here is a printer friendly version of this recipe
Original recept by Lindas Bakskola blog at Tidningen Hembakat. English recipe translation, all photos and some alterations to recipe by me. 

Leave a Reply