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Santka Lucia Brunch Recipes

This special meal was prepared by Kelsey, as a special thank you brunch for one of her host families in Coastal Otago and reflects her family's traditional Sankta Lucia brunch or smorgasbord a buffet offering a variety of hot and cold foods.

Santka Lucia is said to have brought light, food and wine as comfort on the Winter Solstice: the longest night of the year. Santka Lucia Day is celebrated throughout Scandinavian countries. Young girls will dress in a white dress and a red sash, singing the Lucia carol with a crown or wreath of candles on their heads and bring bread and cookies to the procession. The event is a beautiful celebration of light and peace. For Santka Lucia Day, families gather together to celebrate with food, gløgg, and other spirits.



Gløgg is a warm, mulled, wine served at Sankta Lucia brunch to warm up guest on arrival.

The original form of gløgg, a spiced liquor, was consumed by messengers and postmen who travelled on horseback or skis in cold weather.


1.5L red wine (recommend Cabernet Sauvignon, or another rich red wine)

750mL Vodka
750mL Brandy
¾ cup white sugar


1 (15 ounce) package dark raisins
1 (6 ounce) package blanched slivered almonds

3 -5 Whole Cardamom Pods

3 - 5 Whole Cloves

(5 Star Anise, optional)

1 Large Cinnamon Stick
Peel of 1 Orange

Wrap these in cheesecloth or put pods / cloves in a tea infuser


1 Large Orange, Sliced

Cinnamon Sticks


  1. Heat the wine over medium heat until just below the simmer point in a large stockpot with a lid. Add vodka and brandy, and bring back to just below simmering. Save the bottles and their caps for storing leftover gløgg.

  2. While the wine and liquors are heating, place the cardamom, cinnamon stick, orange peel and cloves, onto the center of the square of cheesecloth. Gather together the edges of the cheesecloth, and tie with kitchen twine to secure.

  3. When the mixture is very hot but not boiling, carefully light it with a long-handled match. Wearing a heatproof cooking mitt, carefully pour the sugar into the flames, and let the mixture burn for 1 minute. Put the lid on the stockpot to extinguish the flames, and turn off the heat. Let the mixture cool, covered, for about 10 minutes; add the cheesecloth bundle of spices and the raisins and almonds to the warm wine mixture and let it cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

  4. Strain the cooled gløgg and reserve the raisins and almonds.

  5. To store, pour strained gløgg into the bottles, recap, and keep upright in a cool dark place for up to 1 year. Refrigerate the steeped raisins and almonds in a covered bowl or jar for up to 1 year.

  6. To serve, pour gløgg into a saucepan and warm over low-medium heat until hot but not simmering, about 5 minutes add in orange slices. Ladle 3 ounces of warmed gløgg into a small coffee cup , and garnish each serving with a few reserved raisins and almonds and an orange slice or cinnamon stick if desired.



Lussekatter, or Lucia buns, begin to make their appearance at bakeries around the first weekend of Advent and can be found throughout December in Nordic countries. Saffron plays a significant role in Christmas baking in Scandinavia from Lucia buns to cakes. 

These sweet yeast rolls are flavoured with golden saffron and dark raisins and often shaped into a number of traditional shape; the ‘Lucia cats’ (lussekatter) is the most common shape made and is served at Sankta Lucia.



3/4 cup milk (175 ml)

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

1 teaspoon plus 1/4 cup (50 g) white, granulated sugar

One 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast (check the expiration date on the package to make sure it's still good!)

3 1/2 to 4 cups (490 g to 570 g) all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

The seeds from 3 cardamom pods, ground (optional)

1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 4 Tbsp, 56 g) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup of sour cream (or quark if available)

2 large eggs


I large egg beaten, to glaze dough before baking

Raisins or Currants to garnish


  1. Heat milk, saffron, sugar: In a small pot, heat the milk, saffron, and 1 teaspoon of sugar together until the milk is steamy. Remove from heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Let cool until about 115°F, or warm to the touch, but not hot.

  2. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm saffron-infused milk and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.

  3. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, cardamom: In the bowl of a stand-up mixer* whisk together 3 1/2 cups (490 g) of the flour, remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, salt and ground cardamom (if using).

  4. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yeast milk saffron mixture, the eggs, the butter, and the sour cream. Mix the ingredients until well incorporated.

  5. Knead the dough: Switch to the dough hook of your mixer (if using, otherwise knead by hand). On low speed start to knead the dough. Slowly add additional flour, a tablespoon at a time, kneading to incorporate after each addition. Do this until the dough is still a little sticky to the touch, but does not completely stick to your hands when you handle it.

  6. Let dough rise: Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. 

    • Note at this point you can make ahead and refrigerate overnight if you wish.

    • Let sit in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.

    • One way to tell that the dough is ready is that you poke your finger in it and it takes quite a bit of time for the indentation left by your finger to go away.


  7. Form dough into S shapes: When the dough has doubled in size, gently press it down and knead it a couple of times. Break off a piece and form it into a ball about 2 inches wide (60 to 70 grams if you are weighing). Roll the ball out into a snake, about 14 inches long.

    • Then Curl the ends in opposite directions, forming an "S" with spirals at each end. 


  8. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.

    • Let sit for second rise:  Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough shapes double in size, 30 minutes to an hour.


  9. Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C).

  10. Brush with egg wash, place raisins on buns.

    • Using a pastry brush, brush some beaten egg over the tops and sides of the uncooked buns. Place raisins or currants in the centers of the "S" spirals.


  11. Place in the oven and bake for about 10 to 11 minutes (turning halfway through cooking to ensure even browning), until the buns are golden brown.

  12. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before eating.

  13. Serve warm with butter.​


  • Numerous traditional shapes exist for Lussekatter. Usually each family will have their own preferred symbolism. The "s" shape is the most widely used and is intended to the Julgaltor Christmas pig, the centerpiece of the traditional Yule meal. The "u" shape above is said to have two meanings, in its upright "u" shape it is said to represent the Julbok, or Horned Yule Goat. Alternatively, inverted like a curly "n" it is said to represent the lyre.

  • Other common shapes, and their explanations can be found below.


Pastry Dough:

    3 1/2 cups flour (480 grams or 19.9 oz)

    1 1/2 cups cold unsalted butter (345 grams or 12.2 oz)

    4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 50 grams cake/fresh yeast)

    1/2 cup warm water (100 – 110 degrees Fahrenheit) (118 milliliter)

    1/2 cup heavy cream (118 milliliter)

    1/2 teaspoon cardamom

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    2 eggs, room temperature

    1/4 cup sugar (55 grams or 1.9 oz)

Remonce Filling:

    100 grams butter, room temperature

    100 grams sugar

    100 grams marzipan, room temperature and broken into small pieces



     1 egg, lightly beaten

     2 tablespoons water


     1 package (100g) slivered almonds, skin on.

     1 package (250g) chocolate chips, melted


  1. Place flour into bowl of food processor with steel blade. Cut butter into 1/4 inch slices and add to flour. Pulse flour and butter until the butter is the size of kidney beans.

  2. In a large bowl, dissolve active dry yeast in warm water (between 100-110 degrees F). Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in the cream, cardamom, salt, eggs and sugar. Using a rubber spatula, turn the flour/butter mixture into the liquid and carefully mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened.

    • Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, overnight or up to 4 days.


  3. Turn the dough out onto a moderately floured surface. Roll out dough to make a 16 to 20 inch square. Fold dough into thirds, rotate dough a quarter of turn and fold into thirds again, making a small square. Turn over dough. Repeat rolling and folding another two times (making it a total 3 times of rolling and folding).

    • Ending with a small square, wrap dough and chill for 30 minutes or overnight.


  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  5. While oven preheats and dough chills, make remonce filling:

    • Beat butter and sugar until smooth.

    • Add marzipan and continue to beat until completely smooth.

  6. Divide the chilled dough into two parts. Roll each part into a 6 x 12 inch rectangle. (If not making both braids at the same time, wrap the second half of dough and place in refrigerator until ready to roll out).

  7. Spread filling down the length of center of each rectangle.

    • Form the ​braids Cut slanting strips at 3/4 inch intervals along both sides towards to center. 

    • ​Fold strips over the filling in a criss-cross manner.


  8. Place both braids onto baking sheets and let dough rise for 15-30 minutes until pastry appears puffy.

    • It will not double in size.


  9. Lightly beat the egg and water for the glaze. Once dough has been allowed to rise, brush the pastry with the glaze. sprinkle with slices almonds.

  10. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. To make icing, mix together powdered sugar, warm milk and almond extract.

    • Drizzle melted chocolate on top and let set before cutting. Enjoy!



Wienerbrød is a multi-layered, laminated sweet pastry in the Viennoiserie tradition.  The concept was brought to Denmark by Austrian bakers, where the recipe was partly changed and accommodated by the Danes to their liking, and has since developed into a Danish specialty. The term for Danish pastry wienerbrød translates directly to "Viennese bread".


  1. ​Separate the egg whites and yolks in separate bowls.

  2. Whisk the sugar and egg whites fluffy and stiff. The bowl must be completely clean and dry. A tiny bit of water will make the eggs whites impossible to whisk stiff. Set aside.

  3. Mix the egg yolks, all-purpose flour, natron (baking soda), salt and vanilla sugar together in a separate bowl.

  4. Use a hand mixer to mix the ingredients while gradually adding the buttermilk. Keep mixing until the batter is uniform.

  5. Melt the butter and let it cool off a bit. Slowly add the cooled butter to the buttermilk mixture while whisking.

  6. Use a wooden spoon or similar to slowly mix the stiff eggs whites in the batter.

  7. Heat up the Æbleskiver pan at medium heat and add a small piece of butter in each hole. Fill the holes 3/4 with the Æbleskiver batter.

  8. Add desired filling:

    • A small apple slices is traditional.

    • Other options:

      • Chocolate chips

      • Fresh fruit or berries

      • Jam​​​


  9. When the batter starts to get firm and you can turn them over without cracking, then turn the Æbleskiver 90 degrees (using a wooden stick or similar - I have a metal chopstick which works very well) and let the batter flow into the pan.

  10. At this point there is a hole in the side of the Æbleskiver. Pour a little extra batter into the hole and turn the Æbleskiver another 90 degrees so that the hole gets closed.

  11. When the Æbleskiver have a solid surface turn them regularly so they get an even and light-brown crust.

  12. Serve warm, with a dusting of icing sugar, maple syrup / birch syrup and jam.


  • Requires a special pan for cooking. I recommend the all cast-iron kind. They are available on Amazon.


Æbleskiver (Danish Stuffed Pancake Balls)

Æbleskiver are puffy Danish pancake balls and a traditional Danish dessert most often served during the Christmas season. The actual word in Danish  means "apple slices" because traditionally these were made by putting a small slice of apple in the center while cooking them.  

The batter puffs up as it cooks in a special Æbleskiver pan (pictured), and you turn the pancake balls with a knitting needle, chopstick or wooden skewer. The resulting golden brown sphere is something like a delicious cross between a pancake and a donut, although they are slightly airier and lighter than either of those.  Æbleskiver are dusted with powdered sugar before being served with honey or jam.


250 g all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp Baking soda

1 tbsp vanilla sugar

4 dl buttermilk

100 g butter, melted

3 eggs

1 tbsp sugar


Pepparkakor and Kransekage

Pepparkakor are thin, crispy spiced cookies that are a Christmas tradition in Scandinavia. They're usually cut into heart, people or pig shapes are are served either plain or with intricate white piped icing along side gløgg.

Kransekage can be served as either an 18-tired wreath cake or as finger shaped cookies often eaten on special occasions in Scandinavia. Each cookie or tiered cookie layer is drizzled with icing. As a cake, it is served at celebrations like Christmas, and as a Wedding cake.



   3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

   2 teaspoons baking soda

   1 teaspoon cinnamon

   1 teaspoon ground cloves

   1 teaspoon ground ginger

   1 teaspoon ground cardamom

   1 cup butter

   1 cup white sugar

   ½ cup brown sugar, packed

   1 egg, beaten

   2 tablespoons dark corn syrup




   3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

   2 teaspoons baking soda

   1 teaspoon cinnamon

   1 teaspoon ground cloves

   1 teaspoon ground ginger

   1 teaspoon ground cardamom

   1 cup butter

   1 cup white sugar

   ½ cup brown sugar, packed

   1 egg, beaten

   2 tablespoons dark corn syrup

Icing for Kransekage:

   1 pound confectioners' sugar

   3 large egg whites or 5 tablespoons meringue powder mixed with 1/2 cup water

   Almond Extract (to taste)


  1. Pepparkakor:​​

    • Sift the flour together with the baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and cardamom in a mixing bowl.

    • Beat the butter together with the white and brown sugars in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and corn syrup until smooth. Gradually stir in the flour mixture until evenly blended. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and wrap tightly each with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, or overnight.

    • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease baking sheets.

    • Using 1 portion at a time, work on a floured surface and roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into shapes with cookie cutter, and place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets.

      • I cheat and I run my Pepparkakor dough through a pasta press to get it super thin.​

    • Bake in preheated oven until set, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Store in tightly covered tins.

  2. Kransekage:

    • ​Place almonds in a food processor and process to form fine crumbs, about 2 minutes.

    •  Add sugar and salt and process until well combined and powder-like, about 1 minute.

    •  Add egg whites and process until a dough forms (it will have the texture of cookie dough).

      • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

    • Preheat oven to 300°F (175°C) with oven rack in the middle. 

    • Divide dough in half.

      • Working with one half of dough at a time, cut into small portions and roll into ropes that are slightly thicker than the diameter of a pencil (about 3/8-inch-to-1/2-inch thick).

      • Cut ropes into 2 - 3 inch segments. Using fingers, pinch the top to make a long log with a peaked roof.

      • Place cookies on a lined baking sheet and bake until puffed and lightly golden brown, about 30 minutes.

    • Prepare Icing:

      • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine confectioners' sugar, almond extract if using, and egg whites.

      • Mix on medium-high speed until combined and thickened, about 8 minutes. 

    • Once cookies have cooled, drizzle icing in a waved pattern over the peaked top of the cookie. 

      • If you are feeling especially fancy, you can dip the base of the cookie in melted chocolate and then place back on the baking paper to solidify.​

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