Eyes of Saint Lucy Buns

December 13 is the feast of Saint Lucy, patron saint of the blind and the protector of Siracusa, Sicily. She is often depicted carrying her eyes on a plate because it is said that her eyes were removed by her persecutors because she refused to marry a non-Christian. Whatever the truth is, on her feast day the eyes of Saint Lucy are made to celebrate her life.


  • Makes 20
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons Marsala wine
  • 1-3/4 cup warm milk (115F)
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6-6-1/2 cups unbleached all- purpose flour
  • Egg Wash
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Coarse sugar


  1. Place raisins in small bowl and combine with Marsala wine; set aside.
  2. Pour milk into a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the milk; stir to dissolve and let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Add sugar, butter, egg and salt to the milk mixture. Combine well. Add the flour by cup-full until you have a dough that is not sticking to you hands. Knead dough until smooth then place in buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until double in a warm (75F) place.
  4. Turn dough out onto floured board and knead until smooth. Divide dough into 20 equal size pieces and roll each piece under the palm of your hand into an 8-inch long rope; form an s shape and insert a couple of raisins in the center of the s curves. Place them on parchment lined baking sheets, spaced at least 2 inches apart.
  5. Cover and let rise again for 35 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 375F
  7. Beat remaining egg with the water and brush evenly over each bun. Sprinkle sugar evenly over each one.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown; cool on racks
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