Semla buns (semlor)
- Makes 12 buns
- Hands-on time 30 min, oven time 10 min, plus rising and proving
These cream and marzipan filled semla buns (semlor) are a traditional Scandinavian treat in the run-up to Easter. Dig in.
- 20.8g (9.8g saturated)
- 39.2g (9.7g sugars)
- 50g fresh yeast or 25g dried yeast (see tips)
- 100g unsalted butter
- 250ml milk
- 2 medium free-range eggs
- 90g caster sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 480g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- Icing sugar for dusting
- Warm milk and a cinnamon stick to serve (optional)
For the filling
- 100g good quality marzipan
- 2-2½ tbsp milk
- 150ml double cream, whipped to soft peaks
- Crumble the fresh yeast (or tip the dried yeast) into a large bowl. Melt the butter in a pan, remove from the heat and pour the milk into the pan. When the mixture is cool enough to dip your finger into, pour it over the yeast, stirring to combine.
- Add 1 egg, the caster sugar, a pinch of salt, the baking powder and the flour, then stir to form a very soft dough.
- Using a stand mixer with a dough hook or beaters on a medium speed, knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it comes away cleanly from the sides of the bowl. (Or knead it by hand on a lightly floured surface for 10-15 minutes.) Leave it to rise in the bowl, covered with a clean cloth, for 30-45 minutes until it has grown to one and a half times its original size.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, then knead, dusting with flour as needed (it should be soft but not sticky), until smooth and elastic.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape each into a smooth ball. Line a baking sheet with baking paper, then lay the balls out, leaving a few centimetres between them. Cover with a clean cloth and leave to prove for 1 hour or until they’re puffed and your finger leaves an imprint in the dough when touched lightly. Heat the oven to 220°C/fan200°C/gas 7.
- Lightly beat the remaining egg. Brush the buns with the beaten egg, then bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown (see tips). Cool on a wire rack.
- When the buns are cooled, cut the top third off each one and set aside. Grate the marzipan into a bowl, then mix with the milk until creamy. Spoon a layer of the almond cream onto the cut side of each bun base, then dollop or pipe a layer of whipped cream on top. Replace the bun tops and dust lightly with icing sugar.
- To serve your buns the traditional way, heat some milk in a pan (around 600ml for 4 people) with a cinnamon stick. Put each bun in a bowl, then pour in the hot cinnamon milk.
To prevent the buns browning too fast, cover loosely with foil.
Make the dough the night before and leave to rise in the fridge overnight. Bring to room temperature for 1 hour before continuing from step 4.
Fresh yeast is available from larger supermarkets and health food shops. If you can’t find it, use dried yeast.
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