Bella was a bit perplexed when I announced I was going to make a special bread for St Lucy’s day. “We don’t know anyone named Lucy,” she mused, “except the duck is called Lucy.” Lucy is the name of their toy duck. No, we don’t really know anyone named Lucy (though it was my first choice of a name had Anthony been a girl). My dad had an Aunt Lucy and I think that’s about it.
So why bread on St Lucy’s day? Well, do you really need anything more than the flimsiest excuse to make a new treat? For several years now I’ve been reading Karen Edmisten’s raves about her so easy to make St Lucia bread. I really wanted to make it least year but pregnancy led me to reign in my ambitions. This year the bread seemed like a distinct possibility.
Also, last year I scored a hard to find copy of my friend Lissa’s book, Hannah’s Christmas about a young girl from Sweden and the year Christmas almost didn’t happen. The crux of the story is Hannah’s celebration of St Lucia day with toast and jam substituting for Lucia buns. So I figured that Bella had some prep for the notion of sweet bread on the fest day.
At dinner tonight I read Bella a short biography of St Lucy (Ok, disclaimer: I redacted as I read to skip over some of the details she wouldn’t get and to make it a lot shorter. If you aren’t good at editing as you go, this might not be the best St Lucy biography for tender young souls.) I hadn’t realized St Lucy was a Sicilian saint, who lived in the same region that Dom’s grandparents were from. So there’s another reason for our family to adopt some sort of St Lucy celebration.
Anyway, the St Lucia bread was as easy as Karen claimed and so, so, so, so, so very yummy. I was very impressed with how tender and soft it was. A perfect crumb and a light orange taste. Not too sweet, the dough was like a soft brioche or a very tender challah. This is definitely going into my recipe file and we will be making it again. The only negative feature of the recipe I can find is that it makes a really big bread. Which given that Ben is pinky and would only try a small nibble, my girls are both dainty eaters, my sister has gone gluten free, and my husband is diabetic, means that I will be eating far too much of it.