Sahramiglögi - Saffron Mulled Wine

My Advent Sunday post is a bit late but anyway... (it was already third Advent! I can't believe how fast Christmas is approaching!) In addition to being the third Advent Sunday, it was also Saint Lucia's Day. She is celebrated at least in the Swedish speaking parts of Finland. [Could it be that my dislike to saffron comes from the fact that I'm brunette?? lol    As one might have some bitter feelings towards Lucia's Day as traditionally a blonde girl is chosen to wear the candle crown to represent Lucia and to lead the procession].

The traditional food on Saint Lucia's Day are Lucia-pullat (or Lussebullar in Swedish), meaning Lucia Buns. Basically they are sweet buns with saffron (the dough will get a bright yellow colour from saffron). As much as I love food traditions specific to certain dates, I'm actually not sure if I like the taste of saffron there... but it suites well in other dishes... like in mulled wine :)

Btw, (in addition to other pros) blogging can be quite informative as I just figured why Lucia Buns are called LUSSEbullar or LUSSEkatter in Swedish. I've always found it "Lusse" a weird term to refer to SAINT Lucia. The day has actually paganic roots: Lussi, a female demon/witch/what-so-ever, riding the dark night... The celebration is to give protection to people against her and other evil spirits on the shortest day of the year (but I won't be getting into that [one word: Julian]). But now to the point...

Saffron Mulled Wine 

4-6 portions

1 bottle of white wine

The spice syrup
200 ml apple juice
the zest of 1 small orange (not the white part)
1 star anise
 a small piece of vanilla pod
1 pod of cardamom
a pinch of saffron

Start by making the syrup: Bring everything (except the wine) to a boil and take the heat off. Let them simmer for at least 30 minutes. Sieve the spices away and store in cool, if you don't use it at once. When you want to enjoy the mulled wine, warm up the spice syrup first, then add the white wine and warm until hot (do not boil!).

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