These fabulous Swedish semla buns are inspired by Astrid Lindgren, the author of Pippi Longstocking. They're not too sweet buns filled with the most amazing fresh whipped cream.
A semla, vastlakukkel, laskiaispulla or fastlagsbulle/fastelavnsbolle is a traditional sweet roll made in various forms in Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Norway, Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Iceland, associated with Lent and especially Shrove Tuesday in most countries, Shrove Monday in Denmark, parts of southern Sweden and Iceland or Sunday of Fastelavn in Norway. In Sweden it is most commonly known as just semla (plural: semlor), but is also known as fettisdagsbulle (fat tuesday roll). In the southern parts of Sweden, as well as in Swedish-speaking Finland, it is known as fastlagsbulle (plural: fastlagsbullar; semla on the other hand means a plain wheat bun with butter, called "fralla" in Sweden). In Norway and Denmark it is called fastelavnsbolle. In Iceland, it's known as a bolla and served on Bolludagur. Semla served in a bowl of hot milk is hetvägg.
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Food + Styling by Marianne Gjengedal Photography by Klaudia Iga Pérès
2 1/4 cups whole milk
1 bag dry active yeast
2⁄3 cup sugar
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour pinch of salt
3 teaspoons cardamom
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 sticks butter, softened (150 grams)
FOR THE FILLING:
11/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
- For the buns: In a small saucepan, heat milk to 110oF. Transfer to the large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add the yeast and let it sit for 5 minutes. You’ll know the yeast is active if starts to bubble.
- Add sugar and mix well.
- Stir in flour, salt, and cardamom a little at a time to make sure you get a smooth dough.
- Using a stand mixer with dough hook, knead the dough on low speed for 5 minutes. Or knead for 10 to 12 minutes by hand.
- Work in the butter, a little at a time, to be sure its well incorporated.
- Cover the bowl with cling wrap, and let dough rise until it has doubled in size.
- Turn out dough onto counter and divide into 15 pieces. Roll each piece into a round bun.
- Place rolls onto baking sheets covered in parchment paper and cover again with cling wrap. Allow to rise until they have doubled in size.
- Brush with eggs and bake at 400oF for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden.
- Cool on a wire rack, then slice in half.
- For the filling: Whip heavy cream and sugar into whipped cream.
- Fill the bottoms with cream, and replace the tops. Sprinkle on a little confectioners sugar, and enjoy.
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