Nyna’s Swedish Semla

Hej alla! Today, we’re back again in our home port, Nynashamn, Sweden! Here lives ‘Chef Nynas’, she’s been cooking since 1928 and never tasted a bit of her product.
I think it’s a wise decision not to taste Chef Nynas bitumen products.

For quite some time, I was thinking of a recipe that I can name after Chef Nynas, today I finally got it! A traditional Swedish Semla will fit just fine for her.

Semla or Semlor if it is a lot, are cardamon-scented buns filled with almond paste and top with whipped cream and icing sugar.

Traditionally served on fettisdagen (Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras or, literally, Fat Tuesday), well due to lack of self-control by Swedes,
now it is available in Sweden from the official end of the Christmas season which is on tjugondag Knut (January 13th), until Easter!
At the moment it is still not done to bake them after Easter!

These Semlor are worth the wait and something you shouldn’t be missed!

The recipe below has been adapted from my Sweet Dough Recipe, “Lent buns-Semlor” by SwedishFood.com and “Easy Homemade Marzipan or Almond Paste” by Kimberly of DaringGourmet.com

Now on with the cooking…

Nyna’s Swedish Semla

Prep. time: 3 hours

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Oven temp.: 200’C – Top and Bottom heat – Tray at the lower 3rd rack

Difficulty: Easy but time-consuming

Makes; 1,800 grms. cardamon sweet dough / 24-32 pcs. buns

Good for 12 crew

You will need;

For the dough:

1 kg. all purpose flour

2 Tbsp. instant yeast

3/4 cup or 150 grms. granulated white sugar

2 tsp. fine salt

2 tsp. cardamon powder

3 medium size(60grms.each)eggs

125 grms. unsalted butter, melted in a pan at low heat

300 grms./ml whole milk 3%FAT, pour onto the pan of melted butter to warm up to 40’C

*optional- mix 1-eggwhite and 1-Tbsp. water until well blended. Brush onto the buns before baking.

For the filling:

100 grms. almond flour

100 grms. icing sugar

1 (35grms.)egg white, from a medium size(60grms.)egg

-fresh breadcrumbs from the cardamon sweet buns

1/2 cup (125ml.) fresh whole milk

For the topping:

500 ml. heavy cream 35-40%fat

extra icing sugar to sprinkle on top


Place flour, yeast, salt, cardamom powder and sugar in the dough mixer, run on slow speed for a minute to blend ingredients. Add the eggs, melted butter and milk.
Increase speed to medium and knead the mixture for 10-12 minutes or until smooth and elastic. A good mixture will have blisters on the dough surface.

Work the dough in your hand to make it round. Place it back in the mixing bowl, cover with damp cloth or cling film wrap. Let it proved in a warm area until double in bulk.

Note: operating temperature inside the galley is 26’C, higher room temperature can prove the dough quicker.
Just keep in mind that your dough is alive like a normal human being, so don’t keep it higher than a normal human body temperature which is 37’C.

1st proved – After 90 minutes, place your dough into a clean working table. Fold the dough and work it again to make it round.
Place it back into the mixing bowl, cover with damp cloth or cling film wrap. Let it proved in a warm area until double in bulk.

2nd proved – After 30-45 minutes, Place your risen dough into your clean working table. Divide the dough into 24-32 equal pieces. Roll it to make round buns.
Place it on a prepared baking tray lined with baking paper. Let it proved uncovered until double in size. By this time, you can pre-heat the oven to 200’C

Last proved – After 30-45 minutes, your buns should reach its full size. Try to gently press a bun with your finger, if your finger mark doesn’t spring back, it ready for baking.
Brush it with eggwhite-wash before baking.

Bake at 200’C for 15 minutes or until nicely browned. Let it cool down on wire racks.

Once the buns have cooled down, cut the top part using a very sharp knife.
Reserve the cut-out top part, you can cut it into a heart or diamond shape and we’ll be using it later on for topping each Semla.

Use a fork, tease out the layer of crumbs to make a well up to the center of the buns. Place the crumbs in the food processor, pulse to make fine bread crumbs. Keep aside, it will be used later for the filling.

*For the filling;

Place the almond meal and icing sugar in a food processor, pulse to combine and break up any lumps.
Add the egg white, process until it turns into a firm mass. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Add the reserved bread crumbs and fresh whole milk. Mix until well blended.

Transfer the filling into a piping bag or disposable ziplock bags, cut the tip.

Pipe the filling onto each hollowed bun up to the edge.

*For the topping;

Whipped the heavy cream until stiff peak form. (Click here to learn how to Whip Whipping Cream)

Transfer the whipped cream into a piping bag with a decorating tip. Pipe the whipped cream to each Semla.

Top with cut-out bread-buns-lid and dust with icing sugar.

Serve with warm milk or freshly brewed Zoegas coffee…

Enjoy your Semla and tack så mycket!!!

Here’s how I do it;

For the dough:

*For the filling;

*For the topping;

Whipped Cream and Icing Sugar Toppings

Whipped Cream and Icing Sugar Toppings

Nyna's Swedish Semla
Nyna’s Swedish Semla
Photo by Nino Almendra

Serve with warm milk or freshly brewed Zoegas coffee…

Enjoy your Semla and tack så mycket!!!

-There are variations of semlor throughout Scandinavia and Sweden that go by different names; semlor in the north, fastlagsbullar in the south, and hetvägg if it’s eaten with warm milk and sprinkled with cinnamon. The most modern name is semlor which probably developed from the Latin word semilia referring to the use of the finest wheat flour.
And by the way, one bun is called a semla; semlor is the plural form.

-Hetvägg holds a notorious role in Swedish history: on Fat Tuesday in 1771, King Adolf Fredrik collapsed and died after eating a meal of lobster,
caviar, sauerkraut, smoked herring, champagne and 14 servings of hetvägg, his favorite dessert!

-Hettväg buns were available in Swedish bakeries 200 years ago.
During the 1800s the name fastlagsbullar developed and the earliest recorded use of almond paste as a filling is from 1833.
The cream-filled form became common after WWI supposedly when a baker on the island of Gotland celebrated the end of the war
and rationing hardship by lavishly filling semlor with cream. That tradition continues to dominate the world of Swedish semlor today.
Trivia Source; SwedishFood.Com

Thanks a lot for spending your precious time on my blog and hope this recipe

encourage you to try baking some Semlor this Lenten Season!!!

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