We love welcoming Swedish traditions into our lives; taking some time out to celebrate each special moment with family and friends. These Semla Buns are traditionally baked on fettisdagen, or Shrove Tuesday, to mark the beginning of lent. Of course, they’re so delicious, many Swedes enjoy them right until Easter too. You can enjoy this tasty tradition with this simple recipe.
425g / 3.5 cups Strong White Bread Flour
50g / quarter cup Caster Sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
10g / 3tsp dried yeast
250ml / 1 cup whole milk
75g / ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
1 lightly beaten egg for glazing
200g / ½ cup mandelmassa (almond paste)
100ml / ½ cup whole milk
300ml / 1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp icing sugar (powder sugar)
Add the flour, sugar, salt, yeast and cardamom into a large bowl and combine. Heat butter and milk gently in a saucepan and add along with the beaten egg, stirring with a large spoon or using a dough hook attachment until you get a sticky dough.
Either knead by hand or with your dough hook for 5 minutes until the dough feels smooth and elastic. Then place in an oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock the mixture back. Divide into 12 pieces of roughly equal size, work into evenly shaped balls and place on the baking sheets. Leave to rise again, covered with a damp kitchen towel, for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile heat the oven to 180°C / 400°F, gas 6. Cover buns with egg glaze and bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
Once cool, slice the very top off of each bun and set aside. Using a fork, tease out a small layer of crumbs from each bun and place them in a bowl. Grate the almond paste and combine it with the reserved crumbs and 100ml of milk. Blend everything thoroughly until it forms a thick paste. Whip the cream until stiff.
Add a spoonful of almond mixture to each hollowed out bun and finish with a generous helping of whipped cream. Finally dust with icing sugar and enjoy straight away.
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