I Heart Swedish Baking

I have two very dear Swedish friends, one of whom explained to me during one of our chats the concept of ‘fika’: a lovely Swedish custom of taking a break in the day for coffee and cake and conversation. Semlor 2Semlor buns are traditionally eaten around Easter time (according to my other dear Swedish pal) but I had long wanted to try making these little shells of light dough filled with either almond paste or jam and topped with light whipped cream and dusted with sugar, and I recently found myself with a relaxed weekend in which to attempt them.

I managed to get 17 buns from this amount of dough but the almond paste I made only stretched to fill 12 of them so I filled the remaining 5 with blackberry jam. My other half preferred the jam versions but I favoured the traditional almond. You could form the dough into ten larger balls but I like these middling, three-bite-size versions. Be careful not to over-bake them as they dry out quickly in a strong oven. You could freeze the unfilled buns and defrost for 3-4 hours at room temp before filling; once filled they really need to be eaten within 2 days and stored in the fridge.
semlor blog 4 square

Swedish Semlor
1 large egg
76g butter, melted
180ml warm milk
1 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
320g plain flour
50g caster sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
70g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

60ml milk
3 oz marzipan
¼ teaspoon almond extract
235g whipping cream
Icing sugar

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg with the melted butter and milk. Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow to soften for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift together the flour with the sugar, salt and ground cardamom. Once the yeast has softened, stir the flour mixture into the milk mixture until a soft dough forms. Cover the bowl with a towel and allow to rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes. Sift together the remaining flour and baking powder. Stir into the risen dough, then knead until smooth.

Form into 10 equal balls or 16-18 if you’d like smaller buns. Place onto a greased baking sheet, cover with a towel and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, 35 – 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 180 C. Bake the buns for 10 – 15 minutes until golden brown and the centre is firm. Cool the buns on a wire rack until room temperature.

Once cool, cut about 1/2″ thick slice off the top & set aside. Scoop or cut out the centre of the buns, leaving a shell about 1/2″ thick. Tear the removed bread into small pieces and place into the bowl of a food processor. Add the milk and marzipan to the mixture and process until smooth, adding more milk if necessary. It should be the consistency of pudding. Add the almond extract and a pinch of cardamom and process until combined. Scoop this mixture into the hollowed buns. Whip the cream to stiff peaks. Pipe the whipped cream on top of the filling to 1/2″ over the top of the bun. Replace tops onto the buns and dust with powdered sugar.
Semlor 7


2 thoughts on “I Heart Swedish Baking

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