Sunday, 26 February 2012

Swedish semlor

I'm baaaack!!!

Hi and merry Christmas and Happy New Years and long time no see. So, I decided to continue. I do like blogging about food, but I might add a post or two about other stuff too.

First out is a recipe for semlor (semla sing, semlor pl), a cardamon flavoured sweet bun filled with almond paste and whipped cream, traditionally eaten on Shrove's day, or, as it's called in Sweden, Fat Tuesday. Here in the UK the tradition is to eat pancakes on this day, usually with lemon and sugar. Really tasty too, but almost nothing beats a semla. Fat Tuesday was this week, but I hadn't time to bake then and therefore baked this weekend instead.

The other reason I decided to bake semlor is that it reminds me of home. My grandma always makes here own, usually smaller than the one's you find at the bakeries, and with her homemade slightly chunky almond paste. I thought a lot about my grandparents and family during the past weeks, as my granddad has been very ill and sadly passed away a couple of days ago. Sometimes it is very hard being an expat, you never feel more far away than on occasions like this.

Anyhow, I used a basic semla recipe, but I tweaked it a bit by adding more cardamon and changing the filling slightly. Here in the UK, you can't find mandelmassa, a less sweet almond paste compared to marzipan, and I like my filling to really taste of almonds and be a bit chunkier, like my grandma's, so I added chopped almonds to it.

The result was delicious, so delicious I had more than two. The exact number will however remain a secret as it's slightly embarrassing. In particular as I still managed to eat a full dinner....

Semlor (12 buns)
7.5 dl strong wheat flour
25 g dried yeast
0.75 dl sugar
2 tsp ground cardamon
a pinch of salt
100 g butter
2.5 dl milk
1 egg, beaten

200 g marzipan or mandelmassa
150 g chopped almonds
0.5 dl milk or cream

5 dl whipped cream

Mix flour, yeast, sugar, cardamon, and salt together in a large bowl

Melt the butter, add the milk and warm to 40C, slightly hotter than finger temperature

Add the butter and milk to the flour mix, stir together to a dough.

Knead the dough for a couple of minuter, add more flour if necessary.

Leave the dough in the bowl, covered with a tea towel, to rise for 45 min

Divide the dough into 12 pieces, roll each to a small bun, and place on a buttered oven tray.

Cover with a tea towel and leave to raise for another 30 min

Brush the buns with egg wash

Bake for 10-15 min in the middle of the oven at 225C

Remove from the hot oven tray and let the buns cool down

To make the filling, coarsely grate the marzipan (this is easiest to do if you first leave it in the freezer for 30 min) and mix together with the chopped almonds and milk.

Whip the cream, it should still be a little loose

Cut of a thin lid from the buns. Scoop out a hole in the middle of the bun, this additional bread can be added to the almond paste if you like (I usually don't bother...).

Add the almond paste to the bun, and also add a generous amount of whipped cream. Place the lid on top. If you like, sprinkle the lid with icing sugar (I didn't have any at home, and don't think it's really necessary).



  1. I think the number of semlor eaten would have been just as big if it was me that had made them ;) They look really good, not as compact as they sometimes become!

    1. Jenny - you would like these, they're quite light buns! Well, at least until you fill them. And after eating a few (many) I was not exactly feeling very light myself...

  2. Oh Saga they sound delicious!!! I'm going to have to give these a try.

    1. Delicious indeed :) But I thought you didn't like cream?

      The buns are good anyway, and you could use the dough and make cinnamon buns instead, just roll out the dough, spread on butter, sugar and cinnamon and roll together. Cut the roll into 1-1.5 cm slices and bake. Or use the same principle as for the cinnamon buns and fill the roll with the almond paste before rolling it together and cutting into slices.

  3. I do but sometimes if it is in a cake and is fresh I like it. I know , I knwo I'm weird...