The Elegant Cook

M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Cook Notes

Elegant Swedish Semlor Buns

Posted on February 14, 2010 at 2:51 PM


This is a traditional Swedish sweet bun that is baked for Shrove Tuesday or Fettisdagen,the second Tuesday in February. It is similar to cardamom braid, but baked in bun-form, split-open and filled with both an almond cream and whipped cream. I believe that semlor were the inspiration for the very popular “Beard Papa" brand dessert of Japan. Some Swedes put the semla (singular of semlor) in a bowl with warm milk, also known as‘hetvägg,’which means ‘hot wall’.  I prefer to eat semlor buns with coffee. An accompanying cup of  light-to-medium roast coffee is a must.


Yield: 16 -20 Semlor Buns

Ingredients for the Buns

75 g butter (about 3/4 stick)

1 cup of milk

One tablespoon (15 ml) or about 25 g of yeast

A half-teaspoon of salt 2.50 ml

10 teaspoons (50 ml) of sugar

3 cups (720 ml) of white or unbleached flour

1 teaspoon of ground cardamom

2 eggs, beaten in a small bowl (you will need a pastry brush to apply this egg-wash to the buns before baking)


The Fillings


300 g (10.5 oz.) of almond paste

1/2 cup of milk (120 ml)

Crumbs from interiors of the baked buns (you will make these after the buns are baked)

1 1/2 cups (360 ml) of heavy whipping cream

One-half cup of confectioners' sugar for adding to the whipped cream and dusting the finished semlorna




 Melt the butter in a saucepan, pour in the milk and cook the mixture until lukewarm (99° F).

 Put the yeast in a bowl and, adding a little of the warmed butter and milk, whisk until the yeast is completely dissolved.

 Addthe rest of the butter, milk, salt, sugar, cardamom and most of theflour (set aside a little flour for the work-surface). Knead the dough until it is smooth, shiny, and will not stick to other surfaces, then place it in a large mixing-bowl. Cover the ball of dough with a tea-towel and let rise for 45 minutes.

Dust your work-surface with flour and place the dough there. Gently divide it into about 16 to 20 balls that will fit in the cupped palm of your hand.

 Place the semlor buns on a baking sheet, and allow them to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 440° Fahrenheit.

Brush the semlorna with the beaten egg, then bake them for about 10 minutes in the middle of the oven. Let these buns cool on a rack.

Cut the tops off of the buns, and remove from them some of their inner crumb, and put this in a mixing-bowl. Mix the moist crumbs with almond paste and 1/2 cup of milk until a soft cream has been created.

 Distribute the filling into the buns. Whip the cream with a half-cup of powdered sugar until it is quite stiff, and put a large spoonful  of it on to pof each filled bun. Replace the bun-tops, and dust some powdered (confectioners’) sugar over your finished Swedish semlor buns.