February 28, 2006

Semlor: update!

I have caught the flu - olympic fever perhabs? So no cooking and no photos (because of absent camera) today. Before I lie down again I want to share with you the recipe for the traditional semla, which you are supposed to eat today as a Swede. Semlor is nowadays on sale from right after New Year, which I think is a real cheat. I prefer to wait at least until February but if other, weaker, souls buy them for the office fika already in January, since I am a polite person I eat without complaining.

All over the Christian world it is traditional to eat rich pastys and food before fast, and this is the Swedish version. I always make a batch, but maybe not this year since I am ill and cannot stand too long on my legs, out of this recipe from the Swedish standard cookie book Seven kinds of cookies. Thankfully also available in English, I got myself a copy a couple of months ago and it is good since I wouldn´t be able to translate anything today...

Update, Wednesday: Not a very long-lasting flu (hence not a flu?). But that was not what I wanted to tell you. Visit Anne, Pille and Dagmar for more information on semlor - and an Estonian recipe at Pille´s of course. And visit Kinna if you know Swedish.

If you don´t want to make the buns it is fine to buy some sweet wheat breadrolls and take it from there...

Semlor, or lenten buns
12-15 (if you don´t want 12-15 semlor just keep the rest of the buns in the freezer)
Oven temperature 250C/450F
The bun
100 g butter or margarine (I never use margarine)
300 ml milk
50 g fresh yeast or 2 tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
100 ml sugar
1 egg
about 1000 ml all-purpose flour
(optional, some ground cardamom)
1 beaten egg to brush

The filling:
150 g almond paste
about 100 ml milk
200 ml whipping cream
powdered sugar

Melt the butter and add the milk. Heat to 37C/100F, if using dry yeast heat to 45C/115F
Crumble the yeast in a large bowl and add salt, sugar, milk mixture and egg. Stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour little by little and knead until smooth and elastic. Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes in the bowl.
Pour the dough out onto a floured working surface and knead again, add some more flour if it is too sticky. Form into round balls. Place on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled in size. Brush with beaten egg. Bake on the center oven rack for 8-10 minutes. Let cool.

Cut off just the the top of the buns, maybe 10 mm thick, and scoop out the contents in the middle of the bun, I like to scoop out as much as possible but that is a matter of taste.... Crumble the contents in a bowl and grate the almond paste into the crumbs. Add the milk little by little, stirring until the filling just sticks together. Refill the buns with this mixture.
Whip the cream and put a spoonful on each bun. Cover with the lid and press gently so the cream pipes out on the sides. Sift over a little powdered sugar just before serving. Preferrably you can let the ready semlor sit for a little while in the fridge before you eat them, they get more moist that way.

Enjoy, and don´t get the flu if you can help it.


Pille said...

Sorry to hear about your flu, Clivia:( I've luckily got over mine, and made a huge batch of "vastlakuklid" alias the Estonian version of semlor today. Too content and full to blog about it now, so no pictures until tomorrow.
Get well soon!

Clivia said...

I think your flu was worse than mine - maybe mine wasn´t really a flu? Back to work today, not quite up to speed though... Speaking of the flu, the bird flu arrived in Sweden yesterday so now everyone is hysterical even though NOT so many Swedes live in the same room as their chickens.
I look forward to your post on estniska semlor!

Ivonne said...

Wonderful, clivia!

I have heard about these pastries from a good friend who lives in Sweden and she too says that it's cheating to eat them right after the New Year.

I shall clip the recipe and keep it for when I have a chance to make it!

By the way, congratulations to Sweden on the gold in hockey!

Anonymous said...

Dear Clivia,

Tried your recipe for semlor, and it was heavenly! Just one question: what do you do with the frozen buns to defrost? Do you just let them defrost at room temperature or do you put it in the oven and bake at ? temperature?

Clivia said...

Dear anonymous, glad you liked the recipe! I just let them defrost at room temperature, they are not supposed to be warm when you eat them anyway...