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Traditional Swedish Semla Recipe (Fat Tuesday-Buns)

Traditional Swedish Semla Recipe (Fat Tuesday-Buns)

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Ingredients

Starter
50 g fresh yeast
1 cup whole milk room temperature
100 g granulated sugar
350 g all purpose flour
Finish
2.5 dl whole milk room temperature
150 g granulated sugar
200 g Butter cut into pieces
10 g Salt
750 g all purpose flour
1 egg
1 tbs freshly ground cardamom
Almond paste
100 sweet almonds
100 g granulated sugar
Filling
200 g almond paste
100 g toasted almonds with peel coarsely chopped
50 g granulated sugar
10 g vanilla powder
1-2 grated bitter almond 1 tsp bitter almond oil
50-100 g whole milk (start with the smaller amount and add more if you need)
whipped cream
powdered sugar (icing sugar)
  • Medium

Ingredients

  • Starter

  • Finish

  • Almond paste

  • Filling

Directions

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Bake your own Semla with this easy traditional recipe. A semla is a delicious sweet bun with an almond paste and whipped cream filling. Traditionally eaten for Lent (the Christian fasting period), semlor (plural for semla) are now eaten on a daily basis by semlor addicts.

Semlor are hugely popular in other Nordic and Baltic countries like Finland and Estonia.

Recipe by food creator and local celebrity Chef Lisa Lemke and published with the permission of Sweden’s Tourism Bureau.

How to Make the Starter:

Begin with the starter.

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the milk, either by hand or in a stand mixer.
  2. Add the sugar and flour and work everything to an elastic dough. About 5 minutes in the stand mixer or 10 minutes by hand.
  3. Cover the dough and leave to rise to double size in room temperature for about 30 minutes.

How to Make the Finish:

  1. Add the ingredients of the finish to the starter and work until the dough is shiny and elastic. About 15 minutes by hand or 10 minutes in stand mixer. Don´t cheat with this, you want a lot of gluten in the dough and a really elastic dough.
  2. On a floured surface, divide the dough into small pieces, all weighing about 70 grams each.
  3. Round-roll (roll) to smooth round buns and gently transfer them to a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Make sure to leave some space between the buns as they will grow to about double the size)
  4. Leave the buns covered to rise to about double the size.

How to Make the Almond Paste:

Meanwhile, make the almond paste.

  1. Toast the almonds gently, let them cool and then mix almonds and sugar into a smooth almond paste.
  2. If it´s to dry, try adding just a little bit of water. With this almond paste as base, then make the filling.
  3. Mix (not in machine) together all ingredients for the filling until it has come together to a nice smooth paste with some chunky almond bits in it.

How to Make the Filling:

  1. Bake the buns in the middle of the oven at about 225 °C (430F) for about 10-13 minutes until they are golden. Let cool on a wire rack.
  2. Cut the lids of the bun with a scissor (or use a knife)
  3. Make a small well in the middle by taking some of the inside out with a fork.
  4. Fill this hole with the filling, the larger the hole the more filling. (and you want a lot of filling!) Top with as much whipped cream as desired.
  5. Put the lid on gently and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve your delicious Fat-Tuesday buns immediately.

How to Make the Semla Buns Round and Smooth:

  1. Using your palm, press each ball of dough against the table and roll in circles until the bun is smooth and shiny, like of you actually massaging it.
  2. Cup you hand around the Semla bun without too much pressure and swirl it around in a circling motion to shape it into a round ball.

Photo credit: Magnus Carlsson

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