How are you going to eat that?! Is that the first thing that came to your mind when you saw ‘Semlor’? Well, so did I back in 2008, when I first saw it. 🙂 The traditional way is to eat it with a pool of warm milk; you put the bun in a bowl and pour milk directly on the bowl. For me, personally, I start with the piece on top. I eat it with some of the cream and once that is gone, (most of the time, I take half of the cream with it 😉 ), then I start with the bottom part, like a normal bun. 🙂 You see, it’s some sort of ritual. 😉
‘Semlor’ is the plural term for ‘Semla’; and these Swedish Lent buns has a hint of cardamom in the bun, an almond paste filling, whipped cream and powdered sugar on top. When I first had it, I said there is noooo way I can finish one. Nowadays, I can finish two semlor in one sitting – and then I just have to STOP myself. 😀
Semlor were originally only made on Fat Tuesday, but that is no longer the case. You now see them in bakeries or coffee shops in Stockholm, a week after Christmas. It’s almost like, the day you stop seeing Saffron Buns (or Lussekatter), you see semlor instead.
I normally start making, and eating them around March, up until the end of Easter. But to be honest, I have no problem making it the entire year, it’s just that, once again, I have to RESTRAIN myself. 😀
- 1 cup milk, warm
- 2 & 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 & 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 450 to 500 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 85 grams unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small cubes
- 1 egg, for egg wash optional
- 250 grams almonds, blanched
- 200 grams sugar
- 100 ml milk
- 500 ml cream
- 3 tbsp icing sugar
Combine yeast with warm milk and set aside until ready (i.e. foamy).
In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (cardamom, sugar, salt, and 450 grams flour). Add the yeast mixture and egg. When using a stand-mixer, set the speed to low. Mix to combine.
Add the cubed butter gradually and once all the butter has been combined in the dough, turn the speed to medium and continue mixing until the dough becomes smooth and soft. (NOTE: IF the dough is too sticky, add some more flour.)
Form a ball with the dough and place in a greased bowl. Cover bowl with a plastic wrap and set aside for 1 to ½ hours, until it has doubled. My kitchen is quite cold, so this normally takes two hours for me.
Divide the dough into 18 pieces and form small balls with each. Place the balls in a pan lined with baking sheet. Cover the balls with a clean kitchen cloth and set aside for 1 hour, until they become slightly puffy.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F). If desired, brush the buns with some egg-wash to have some glossy, brownish color once cooked.
Cook the buns for 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer buns onto a wire rack to cool.
Combine the almond and sugar in the processor and mix until it has turned into a fine paste. If the paste is too thick, add some of the milk. I normally do not use all the milk, since the paste should not be watery either.
Cut a small portion on top of each bun. Using a serrated knife normally makes this easier.
Make a hole in the center of each bun by taking out some of the bread. Be careful not to make a big hole since you still need to consider the balance of each bite. Not leaving enough bun in there will mean a LOT of almond filling.
Scoop a small amount of the almond filling and place it in the middle of the bun. Try to make the top of the bun even and straight, since you will be piping the whipped cream on top of it.
Use a stand mixer (or hand mixer) to whip the cream, then pour it in a piping bag. Pipe the whipped cream on top of each almond-filled bun.
Place the cutoff top part of the bun back and sprinkle with icing sugar.