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As I mentioned at the beginning of the newsletter, I am writing on Fat Tuesday. There is a traditional filled bun served in many countries. Wikipedia has this definition: “A semla, fastlagsbulle (Swedish) or fastelavnsbolle (Danish and Norwegian) is a traditional pastry made in various forms in Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Norway, Denmark and Estonia, associated with Lent and especially Shrove Tuesday”.

A friend of mine, Karin Andersson made us a batch of semla buns for our Swedish Society board meeting Monday night. They are yummy and not too sweet!


For the buns, makings about 18:

  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 Tablespoons dried yeast (2 packages)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs (using 1 at a time)
  • 1 1/2teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 3/4 cups flour (you may need a little more)

In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter over medium heat until butter is melted. If the temperature of the mixture is hotter than 98 degrees (body temperature), then set aside to cool. When it reaches body temperature add the yeast to the milk and let stand five minutes.

Add salt, sugar, cardamom and 1 egg to the milk mixture.

Sift together 2 cups of the flour and the baking powder, then add to the milk mixture.

Continue to add flour until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Cover, place in a warm place and let it double in size, about an hour.

Knead the bread on a floured board adding a little more flour as needed. Shape the dough into 18-20 round rolls. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes beat 1 egg in a small bowl and brush the rolls with the egg.

Bake rolls for 5-10 minutes in a 450 degree oven until golden brown. Let cool on a rack.

Cream Topping (which really goes between the bun)

  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar for the mixture
  • Powdered sugar for decoration

Whip the cream and confectioner’s sugar together until light and fluffy. Cut the top off the rolls and place a good sized dollop of whipped cream on the bun and replace the top. Dust the top with the extra powdered sugar.

Filling (this is optional and would be done before you do the whipped cream topping)

  • 3/4 cup ground almonds or one 3.5 ounce tube of almond paste
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cream

Cut the top off each roll. Make a well in each roll by pulling out a few bits of the roll. Combined the roll bits with the almonds, sugar, and cream until lightly mixed. Fill the well in each roll with the filling and then you can pipe the whipped cream layer around the outer edges of the filling.

You can freeze the buns, but once you mix the filling and topping, they must be eaten the same day.

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