Where to begin? Firstly, I wish you came into my life earlier. So many years I’ve wasted without your Cardamom goodness.
Secondly, why aren’t you in my life right now?! Why have I eaten you all? Why isn’t there a Swedish bakery down the road from my house, wafting that delicious freshly baked warm bun smell into my house every morning?
I saw these beautiful creations on Pinterest (where else?) and immediately needed to make them. Those of you without a Pinterest account… on one hand its amazing and an incredible source of inspiration but on the other, it’s dangerous. It’s addictive and makes you want things you never knew you needed in your life.
I can safely say, these buns are one of the more successful bakes that have emerged from Pinterest. I definitely needed these in my life.
If you’ve had Semla (single) or Semlor (plural)… (in my case, definitely plural) then you’ll know how devilishly addictive they are. Semla are basically really soft, delicately flavoured Cardamom Buns which hold a fluid sweet Almond Paste that sits under a massive swirl of silky Chantilly Cream. This is all topped off with a little icing sugar bun hat.
I love that if you give one of these to someone who’s a Semla virgin, they have no idea there’s a glorious almond filling hiding in there.
Note to Almond Extract haters like me: Don’t worry guys, I hate hate hate Marzipan and Almond Extract flavoured food. The Almond filling in these is nothing like Marzipan. It’s not a hard paste, it’s spoon-able. All it is, is sweet nutty goodness.
Ingredients – Makes 16 Semla
Recipe Adapted from Saveur
- 240ml milk
- 85g caster sugar
- 7g dried yeast
- 1/2 tsp. mixed spice
- 1 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 egg
- 500g plain flour
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 55g unsalted butter, soft
- 1 egg + a dash of milk (for egg washing)
- 100g ground almonds
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
- dash of vanilla extract
- dash of double cream
- 25g toasted skinless almonds, roughly chopped
- 600ml double cream
- 60g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod (or a dash of vanilla extract/paste)
For the Cardamom Buns:
- In a small pan, heat the milk until it is warm to the touch. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the milk, sugar, yeast and cardamom together. Stir them together and let it stand until slightly foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Place the bowl on the stand mixer and fit the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, add in the egg and let it combine. Next add in the flour, baking powder and salt. Continue to mix on low until combined. Change the paddle attachment to the hook attachment and knead the dough for a couple of minutes. Whilst the mixer is kneading the dough, start to add in the softened butter in small chunks.
- Now knead the dough for 3-4 minutes after you have added all of the butter. The dough should be smooth and elastic. Tip the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with a damp tea towel or cling film. Place in a warm place until it has doubled in size, approx. 1 hour.
- Tip the dough onto your work surface and divide into 16 portions. (I like to weigh all of my dough and then divide it by 16 so that each one is the same size.)
- Cupping your hands around each piece of dough and keeping contact with the work surface, roll the dough into a ball. Place these onto two baking trays lined with baking paper spaced evenly. Cover the baking trays and leave to prove again for 30 minutes. Whilst your dough is proving, pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C.
- In a bowl, whisk together the egg and dash of milk to make an egg wash. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash using a pastry brush, making sure it doesn’t pool around the base of the dough balls. Bake them until golden, approx. 20 minutes. Leave to cool.
For the Almond Filling:
- Mix together the ground almonds and caster sugar in a food processor. Add a few tbsp. of water until you reach a thick paste (this can be let down later with double cream.)
- Add in your cardamom seeds, vanilla and chopped almonds.
- Add in a few splashed of double cream until your reach a soft scoop able mixture.
For the Chantilly Cream:
- Whisk together all the ingredients until firm. Place in a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle.
- Cup the tops off of the cooled Cardamom buns.
- Cut out the centre of the buns for the Almond filling. (You can add the bread crumbs to your almond filling… or just eat them!)
- Spoon in the Almond filling.
- Pipe the Chantilly Cream in a tall swirl on top of the bun and place the hat of the bun back on top.
- Cover with a generous sprinkling of icing sugar.