I just love making something that brings a certain look of satisfaction, love and longing to my family ~ this time, my husband. Tony came home last night, changed from his military uniform and went straight to the computer… strange. I asked what he was doing, and he said he thought about something his Mom used to make when he was little… Lucia Bread. Since her passing, I have tried lovingly to recreate and occasionally follow her [hand-written] recipes. She was an amazing woman and an incredible cook! Hard shoes to fill, but when Tony gets that certain look ~ a little dazed with just a whisper of a soft smile touching his lips, I know I’ve done it…
St. Lucia Bread
1/2 c. lukewarm water
2/3 c. lukewarm milk (scalded, then cooled)
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. soft butter
2 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. turmeric (substitute for saffron)
5-5 1/2 c. flour
1 slightly beaten egg
1 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. sugar
Divide into 24 parts. Shape each piece into an S-shape rope; curve both ends into a coil. May place raisin in center of each coil. Place rolls on cookie sheet. Brush top with butter; let rise until doubled. Mix egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush buns lightly. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Santa Lucia Day, December 13, is celebrated in many Italian towns. One of the biggest celebrations is in Sicily where the city of Siracusa holds a huge parade carrying the saint on a golden coffin to the Church of Santa Lucia. On December 20 there is another parade to return her to the crypt. There are celebrations all week and thousands of pilgrims come to Siracusa. The festivities end with a big fireworks display over the harbor.