The Swedish Semla

The Swedish Semla is best described as a cream bun with almond paste, so delicious that the swedes even have dedicated a special day for it in the calendar. ”Fat Tuesday” or “Fettisdagen” is usually celebrated on a Tuesday in the end of February or beginning of March, but this lovely bun can still be enjoyed all year around.
  • Swedish semla

Swedish semla

A traditional way to eat this bun is to put the ‘semla’ in a bowl with warm milk, also known as ‘hetvägg’ translated as ‘hot wall’. Or you can just enjoy it with a cup of coffee. Find your favorite Semla provider among one of Sweden’s many classical cafes, or why not try to bake some on your own?
Recipe for the Swedish Semla
For 16-20 semlor

5 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
3 teaspoon instant yeast (10 gram)
pinch salt
1/3 cup sugar
3 cups wheat flour
1 teaspoon cardamom, ground (optional)
1 egg, beaten

1/2 lb. almond paste
½ cup milk
1 ½ cup heavy cream
confectioners’ sugar
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan; pour in the milk, heat until lukewarm (99 F).
  2. Crumble the yeast in a bowl and stir in a little of the warm butter/milk until the yeast is completely dissolved.
  3. Add the rest of the butter/milk, salt, sugar, cardamom and most of the flour (save some for the rest of the baking). Knead the dough until smooth and shiny. It should let go from the edges of the bowl. Allow the dough to rise under a baking cloth for 40 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle flour over a baking board and place the dough there. Make 1 bun per person by rolling the dough against the baking board in your cupped hand.
  5. Put the buns on a baking tray with oven paper and allow them to rise for an additional 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 440°F.
  6. Brush the buns with the beaten egg and bake them for about 10 minutes in the middle of the oven. Let them cool on an oven rack under a baking cloth.
  7. Slice the top off each bun. Take out a part of the crumb and put it in a bowl. Crumble in almond paste, mix and dilute with the milk to a rather soft mixture.
  8. Distribute the filling in the buns. Whip the cream and put a large dollop in every bun.
  9. Replace the tops on the buns and sift some confectioners’ sugar over ‘semlorna’.


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