Recipe and words by Klara Risberg
Semla – singular
Semlor – plural
A Swedish tradition not to be broken, we go mad for these! We even have a designated day for these buns on the 16th of February – Fettisdagen, or Fat Tuesday.
Make these freshly baked soft cardamom buns, filled with toasted almond paste and freshly whipped cream for your valentine. These buns have to be eaten fresh, if you are serving the buns the day after, freeze them and whip the cream just before filling. Try not to over whip the cream. Recipe makes about 12 buns so scale down the quantities if you’re making less, although I can guarantee happy neighbours if you feel like gifting these.
260g bread flour
7g instant yeast
Mix all of the above ingredients using a stand mixer on low speed for 5 minutes, leave to rest for 15 minutes.
160g bread flour
2 small eggs
4 tsp freshly ground cardamom seeds
100g butter at room temperature
After 15 minutes, mix in the remaining ingredients, add the butter in smaller pieces making sure it’s incorporated well. Continue to mix on low speed for 10-15 minutes until you have a smooth and elastic dough.
Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes. Divide the dough into equal sized balls, I usually make mine 50 grams each. Leave to rise again on a baking sheet until doubled in size, making sure they are spaced out. Depending on the temperature in your kitchen this should take about 1.5-2 hours.
Heat up your oven to 220 degrees, once the buns are in lower the temperature to 200 and bake for 8 minutes until golden. Once the buns are baked brush them very gently with egg wash mixed with a splash of water and a small pinch of salt, this last step is optional but if you fancy a shiny bun go for it. Leave the buns to cool completely.
Toasted almond paste
200g toasted and cooled almonds
150g powdered sugar
1 egg white
1.2 tsp vanilla paste
Pinch of sea salt
Pour 170g of the cooled almonds in a food mixer and pulse to a powder, add the remaining ingredients and mix to a paste. Just before filling the buns, add the cream. I find leaving the paste to set for a few hours (without the cream) in the fridge works the best.
Coarsely chop the remaining 30g of the toasted almonds.
When you are ready to serve, cut into your bun using a pair of scissors in the shape of a triangle, you want to create a well in the bun for the almond paste, save the little top hat you’ve just cut out of the bun. Fill the well with the paste using a piping bag, sprinkle some chopped almonds and finish off by piping whipped cream on top. Top with the ‘triangle’ and dust some powdered sugar on top. Enjoy!