Around this time four years ago I was in Stockholm to celebrate my birthday, eat my way through the city and immerse myself in all things Swedish. One thing anyone will notice in Stockholm around January / February is the window displays of bakeries and cafés overflowing with semlor, the traditional Lent buns.

Semlor - Swedish Lent Buns {photography by Mondomulia - recipe by Rachel Khoo}

 

Semlor are cardamom-scented buns filled with an almond paste and topped with whipped cream. The cut off bun is used as a lid over the cream, lightly dusted with icing sugar.

The tradition of baking semlor is tied to the Lent period. In the old days, Swedes would eat semlor on fettisdagen (known here as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras) as a last indulgence before the 40-day fast. Nowadays these buns are widely available in Sweden throughout January and until the beginning of February when Lent starts.

Even in London it’s much easier to find semla buns thanks to the opening of Swedish bakeries such as Scandinavian Kitchen, Bageriet and Fabrique.

Semlor - Swedish Lent Buns {photography by Mondomulia - recipe by Rachel Khoo}

 

I absolutely love semla and I eat at least one every January. This year I was already planning a visit to central London to get one, when I came across a semla recipe by Rachel Khoo on ES Magazine. I always thought they would be difficult to make, but the recipe seemed pretty straight-forward so I decided to give it a try. Despite a baking fail which resulted in burnt buns and having to make a new batch of dough, the recipe was easy. Just make sure you keep an eye on the oven when you are baking the buns! ;) Even my second batch was a little bit too brown as you can see from the photos; one minute less in the oven and they would have been perfect.

Semlor - Swedish Lent Buns {photography by Mondomulia - recipe by Rachel Khoo}

Making semlor is a bit time-consuming as any kind of bread. I made the dough the night before and let it rise overnight. The next morning I divided the dough in eights parts and baked the buns. A few hours later, with the buns completely cold, I added the marzipan paste and whipped cream. Job done. They kept well in the fridge for up to five days (by then, they were all gone).

The verdict? They are really good. My husband ate FOUR of them on the first evening and even though I am slightly shocked by this I am glad he loved them so much. I loved them too, so I’ll definitely be making them again.

Semlor - Swedish Lent Buns {photography by Mondomulia - recipe by Rachel Khoo}

Ingredients

Recipe adapted from Rachel Khoo and Scandi Kitchen.

For the buns

  • 40g butter
  • 150ml whole milk
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 250g flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1½ tsp fast-action yeast
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamon
  • A good pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk

For the filling

  • 100g marzipan
  • 2 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • 200ml whipping cream
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar

Preparation

Put the butter and milk in a pan and heat until the butter has melted and the milk is hot. Remove from the heat. Put the caster sugar, flour, yeast, cardamom and salt in the bowl of a free-standing mixer and make a well in the centre. Add the egg yolk and the milk and butter. Use the dough hook to incorporate the mixture, then knead on a medium to low speed for 5-10 minutes until it is springy (add more flour if required). Place the dough in a clean bowl covered with a damp tea towel, put in a warm place and prove for 2-3 hours or until doubled in size.

Dust a surface with flour, knock back the dough and roll into a sausage shape. Divide into 8 buns of about 60g each.

Semlor - Swedish Lent Buns {photography by Mondomulia - recipe by Rachel Khoo}

Place on a large baking tray, spaced evenly, and lightly cover with cling film. Leave to prove for a further 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200C and make the filling. Grate the marzipan into a bowl and beat with the milk and cardamom until you have a paste. Once the buns have proved, beat the egg and brush over the top of the buns.

Semlor - Swedish Lent Buns {photography by Mondomulia - recipe by Rachel Khoo}

Bake the buns for 8-10 minutes or until golden on the top and nicely risen. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Semlor - Swedish Lent Buns {photography by Mondomulia - recipe by Rachel Khoo}

Cut off and keep the tops of the buns and use a teaspoon to scoop out some of the crumb inside. Add to the marzipan mixture, beat and put a spoonful in the centre of each bun.

Semlor - Swedish Lent Buns {photography by Mondomulia - recipe by Rachel Khoo}

Whip the cream to soft peaks with 2 tbsp of the icing sugar, place in a piping bag and pipe over the top of the marzipan and to the edges.

Semlor - Swedish Lent Buns {photography by Mondomulia - recipe by Rachel Khoo}

Place the tops back on the buns and dust with icing sugar. Serve immediately.

Semlor - Swedish Lent Buns {photography by Mondomulia - recipe by Rachel Khoo}

  • These look lovely! I empathise with you on the spoiled batch. I do that kind of stuff with baking (and toast) all the time. I promised myself that I would work on a recipe when I got home for lent (there are plenty in Finland too!).

    • Luckily I didn’t have to throw away the first batch: it was too brown outside, but perfectly fine inside. We ate the buns for breakfast! :)

      Are the Finnish semlor different to the Swedish recipe? I would be curious to try them.

  • These sound, and look incredible. x

  • nicole (thespicetrain.com)

    These buns look gorgeous, Giulia! And what a tasty recipe; cardamom-flavored and marzipan cream-filled? Sounds amazing!

    • Thanks Nicole! If you have never tried semlor before, you should definitely make them. I love marzipan in anything, especially in these soft buns and topps with cream :P

FOLLOW ME

favicons

Instagram Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Pinterest
WELCOME TO MY BLOG!
Mondomulia
Categories

travel-400x400

reviews-400x400

lifestyle-400x400

drinks-400x400

coffee-400x400

Categories

Follow Me On Instagram
Subscribe to Blog via Email