For anyone who has been walking around Stockholm recently, you have surely noticed the Semla in every bakery window! The Semla is a delicious (acquired taste) Swedish dessert that was traditionally eaten between Shrove Tuesday and Passover for Lent. It looks like a bun filled with cream and dusted with sugar, and is filled with almond paste in the middle.
Today, some of my friends were visiting Stockholm, and we went to Chokladkoppen for an afternoon Fika after walking around in Gamla Stan. We all tried different desserts so we could share, and in my case it was complete Chocolate overload!
Chokladkoppen is famous for their hot chocolate as well, and I can confirm it was perfectly chocolaty and delicious! We tried both the dark and white hot chocolates. We ordered Apple Pie, White Chocolate Cheesecake and Valrhonaboll (Chokladboll). We also decided to order one Semla so we could try something traditionally Swedish, and we enjoyed the specialty bun very much! This weekend, in preparation for the “Semla Day” on Tuesday, I will try to make Semlor for some of my Swedish friends! I am going to use the recipe below, so wish me luck!
About 15 large or 25 small buns
100 g butter
300 ml milk, 3%
50 g fresh yeast (for sweet dough)
1 tsp crushed cardamom or the grated peel of 1 orange
½ tsp salt
85 g sugar
about 500–550 g plain flour
1 beaten egg for brushing
200 g marzipan
100 ml milk
300 ml whipping cream
Icing sugar for dusting
1. Melt the butter and add the milk. Heat to 37°C.
2. Crumble the yeast in a bowl and add the cardamom or the orange peel.
3. Add the milky liquid and stir until the yeast has melted. Stir in the salt, the sugar and most of the flour, but save a little flour for later.
4. Work the dough in a food processor/dough mixer for about 15 minutes.
5. Let it rise to twice its size in the bowl, about 40 minutes.
6. Place the dough on a floured pastry board and cut into pieces. Roll into buns and place on oven paper or greased baking sheet. Let the buns rise to twice their size, about one hour.
7. Brush the buns with egg. Bake in the lower part of the oven, at 225°C for around 8–10 minutes for large buns and 250°C for 5–7 minutes for small. Leave to cool on wire racks.
8. Cut off the bun tops. Scoop out the centre of each bun (about 2 tsp) and crumble in a bowl.
9. Rough grate the marzipan and mix it with the crumbs and milk into a creamy mass.
10. Fill the hollow buns with this mixture.
11. Whip the cream and squirt or spoon it over the filling. Place the top on the bun and dust with icing sugar.
12. Serve alone with coffee or in the form of a hetvägg in a deep bowl with warm milk and ground cinnamon.
Another great place to check out for a variation on the traditional Semla is: Tössebageriet where they have created something called the Semla “Wrap”. I hope to pop by here next week to try it!
Until next time and good luck making Semlor!