March 5th in Sweden is traditionally started with an amazing treat! Its actually one of my favourite deserts, one that I could eat for the rest of my life and never get sick of! Its called Semla (or fastlagsbulle), its a cardamon bun with almond paste and white cream, topped with a tiny bit of icing sugar. Its absolutely divine! Its take a while to bake. If you’re in Sweden, you will probably head out to your nearest bakery to pick up one, but if you’re not, then do try these! As they are scrumptious!
Here’s how you make them!
- 200 ml milk
- 260 g flour
- 25 g yeast (i used live/fresh yeast)
- 160 g flour
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cardamon
- 100 g butter (room temp)
- 85 g sugar
- 500 g almond paste
- 50 g ground almonds
- 50 g chopped almonds
- 1 tablespoon cardamon kernels (crushed in a mortar)
- 20 g vanilla sugar
- 90 g icing sugar
- 150 g milk
- Whipped cream (ready whipped, and cooled)
- For the starter dough: Heat up the milk to finger warmth, and then mix it in with the flour and yeast in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook until it forms a dough. Leave to rest for 15 minutes, covered.
- Then mix in the remaining ingredients (See Main Dough above in Ingredients list), and turn the mixer on to medium speed for roughly 5-7 minutes, until the dough comes together and is glossy and elastic when stretched.
- Fold the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide the dough into roughly 14 equal pieces (you can weigh them to make it exact, mine were roughly 60 grams each). Roll them out into balls and place them onto a baking tray lined with a baking sheet. Cover them with a tea towel and let proof for roughly 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours, or until double in size.
- Once risen, make them in the middle of the oven at 200 C for about 8-10 min, or until golden brown in colour. Bring them out and let them cool on a wired rack.
- For the Almond stuffing: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, and either using your hand whisk or an electric mixer, blend it all together until it forms a nice smooth paste that’s easy to pipe. You will have the few almond bits here and there, but that’s a good thing! 🙂
- Then assembly: Take a bun, slice the very top of it off, so 1/3 from the top off. Then gently carve a well inside the bun, so there is a ditch inside without going through it. Take the bun dough you carved out, and mix it well with the almond stuffing. Then stuff it in the hole, roughly 2-3 tablespoons, then pipe on the whipped cream, place the piece of cut dough, known as the ‘lid’ onto and dust with some icing sugar, and voila! You’re all set and ready to devore you’re very own traditional Swedish Semla!