When it comes to fika, baked goods are just as important as coffee. Semlor (singular: semla) are the perfect pair for a piping-hot cup of joe. Similar to cream puffs, the classic Swedish buns are flavored with cardamom, filled with almond paste and topped with fresh whipped cream. Traditionally enjoyed on Fat Tuesday, the cream-filled buns are now popular in Sweden throughout the winter months.
“Semlor are practically mandatory in Sweden between Fat Tuesday and Easter. Variations are eaten throughout Scandinavia, but they’re intensely popular in Sweden. Semlor are to Swedish Lent what turkey is to American Thanksgiving. I love them because they’re a light, sweet and satisfying dessert with wonderfully subtle flavors.” – Katie Kring
Osmotolerant yeast is a special stain of instant dry yeast designed specifically for doughs high in sugar. Look for brands like SAF available for purchase on amazon.com.
Look for organic flours or brands such as Bob’s Red Mill, which are unbleached and unbromated.
Yields | 10 buns |
- 1 Tbsp osmotolerant yeast
- 1 cup warm water, between 85°F and 90°F
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 6 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 3½ cups unbleached, unbromated bread flour
- 3 Tbsp plus 1 tsp dry milk powder
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, sliced into pats
- egg wash (1 egg, 1 Tbsp heavy whipping cream and 1 Tbsp water, whisked together)
- 1 cup almond flour
- 2 Tbsp almond paste
- 3 Tbsp plus 2 tsp granulated sugar
- ¹⁄₃ cup half-and-half
Stabilized Whipped Cream
- 2 tsp cold water
- ¼ tsp unflavored gelatin
- 2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream plus ¾ cup plus 1 Tbsp heavy whipping cream, divided
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
| Preparation – Buns | In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add yeast, warm water, salt, sugar and egg. Add flour, milk powder and cardamom and mix for 3 to 4 minutes or until all ingredients are incorporated into a reasonably homogeneous dough. Add butter, a few pats at a time, and mix until butter is completely incorporated, dough is smooth, silky and shiny, and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a greased mixing bowl and refrigerate overnight.
Remove dough from refrigerator onto a clean work surface. Divide dough into 3-ounce pieces and form into balls. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet lined with greased parchment paper, taking care that buns are not touching, and let sit uncovered for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature – around 72°F – to proof until plump and jiggly.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Gently brush buns with egg wash and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the middle reads 185°F. When removing from oven, whack baking sheet firmly on a hard surface; this keeps buns from wrinkling as they cool. Allow buns to cool, then cut buns in half as you would with hamburger buns and set aside.
| Preparation – Almond Filling | In the bowl of a food processor, combine almond flour, almond paste and granulated sugar and mix well. Stream in half-and-half to make a thick paste. Set aside until ready to assemble.
| Preparation – Stabilized Whipped Cream | In a small saucepot off heat, add cold water and gelatin, allowing to bloom for 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream. Over low heat, gently heat mixture just enough to melt gelatin; remove from heat and allow to cool for 2 to 3 minutes. In the chilled bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine remaining heavy whipping cream and sugar. While whisking on medium speed, stream in gelatin mixture. Increase speed to high, and whip until firm peaks form; take care not to overmix. Use immediately.
| Assembly | Spread cut halves of buns with almond filling. Prepare a piping bag with a medium round piping tip (or snip off the bottom corner of a plastic zip-close bag) and add stabilized whipped cream; pipe onto the bottom half of buns, then reassemble. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 5 days.