onsdag 16 mars 2011

Swedish "semla"

Just for once, one of my blog posts will be in English. Last Sunday, some of my PhD student collegues stopped by for a "fika". Since most of them are not Swedish, I thought it could be nice to provide some home-made "semlas", which they really appreciated. If you are not familiar with Swedish treats, a "semla" is a cardamom-flavoured sweet wheat bun, filled with almond paste and whipped cream. According to the traditions, the "semlas" were ingested especially on Shrowe Tuesday, but nowadays, the first "semlas" appear just after Christmas and don't disappear until some weeks after easter. Here is the recipe I used this year. Sorry for the bad photo... Please, note that the dough can be used as a base for Swedish cinnamon rolls:-).

SWEDISH "SEMLA" (plural: "SEMLOR"), 24 big buns
50 g fresh yeast
5 dl water
1½-2 dl white sugar
2 tsps (10 ml) pounded cardamom
150-200 g dairy-free margarine
12-13 dl wheat flour

Mix all ingredients to a soft dough; knead well (5-10 min by hand). Leave to prove for at least 1 hour (cover with a towel, a lid, plastic etc.). Knead the dough trough again, and form into 24 round balls. Put on an oven-tray (greased or with a baking sheet on) and cover with a towel or plastic again. Let prove for another 45-60 minutes. Bake in the middle of a pre-heated oven, 225 degrees Celsius, for about 10 minutes or until the buns are light and golden-brown. Cover with a towel and leave to get cold.

ALMOND PASTE FOR FILLING (or use pumpkin seeds)
100 g almonds (or pumkin seeds)
½-1 dl white or brown sugar

Mix all ingredients together to a smooth paste (in a food processor/mixer).

Buns, 1 per person
almond paste, approximately 1 tbsp (15 ml) per bun
whipped cream (I prefer soy-based)
caster sugar

Cut off the topmost part of the bun. Hollow out some of the crumbs from the remaining part of the bun, so that a cavity is formed. Mix breadcrumbs with almond paste and some cream to a smooth consistency. Put back the filing into the cavity. Spray whipped cream onto the filling, and put the topmost part back. Powder with caster sugar. Ready to serve! Traditionally on a plate with luke-warm milk around it, but nowadays, very few people eat it in that way.

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