As promised, a recipe for Gerda’s favourite treat:
To make a dozen semlor, you will need: (a talar measure)
• 25g of yeast
• 75g of margarine or butter
• 200ml of milk
• 2 eggs
• 1 teaspoon of salt
• Half a teaspoon of cardamom
• 500ml of sugar
• 700ml of plain flour
• 2 teaspoons of baking powder
For the filling and topping, you will also need:
• Roughly grated almond paste (or marzipan if you can’t find almond paste)
• Whipping cream
• Milk
• Icing sugar
How to make a semla:
• First, melt the butter or margarine in a saucepan, add the milk and heat until lukewarm.
• Crumble the yeast into a bowl, and add some of the liquid to dissolve the yeast.
• Add the remaining liquid, plus the salt, cardamom, 1 egg, sugar and 600ml of the flour.
• Work the mixture together into a dough.
• Cover with a cloth and leave the dough to rise for around 30 minutes.
• Mix together and work into a dough, a kitchen-machine makes this easy.
• Mix together the baking powder and remaining flour and work into the dough. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth.
• Separate dough into maximum 12 round balls.
• Lightly grease some baking sheets, put the buns onto the sheets and allow them to rise for 35-40 minutes.
• Beat the other egg and use a brush to glaze the tops of the buns.
• Heat the oven to 250 degrees C and bake the semlor in the middle for 10 minutes.
• Cover the buns with a cloth and allow to cool on a wire rack.
• Before eating your semlor:
• Cut a circular “lid” off the top of each bun. Use a spoon to scoop out the inside of the bun.
• Mix together the grated almond paste with the inside of the bun, add milk to make a smooth mixture and use this mixture to fill the hole.
• Whip the cream and spoon the cream on top of the bun filling.
• Replace the lid of the bun and decorate with icing sugar
I’ve just tested this recipe and I feel that there are a few things which you should note. Firstly, it says 700ml of flour…I think it means at least a litre. I found that the 600ml flour didn’t make a very doughy dough. It’s true I’ve never made semlor before so I don’t know what it should look like at the different stages, but I’ve made dough before. Any Swedes out there like to test this and let me know?
Secondly, almond paste can be made by using equal amounts of ground almonds and icing sugar mixed with one egg white. I used 200g of each which worked quite well.
Thirdly, these can be quite sweet and very filling.

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