SEMLA

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Semla is a pastry eaten all over Sweden. Generally it’s eaten around easter and the beginning of spring. The dough is a very simple quick bread with a dash of cardamom. The bun is then cut and filled with marzipan or almond paste and whipped cream. We made our own almond paste but there are plenty of good store bough marzipans that will do the trick. Be careful these things are addictive.

Semla:

2 tbsp dry active yeast

1/2 cup lukewarm water

1/3 cup white sugar

3/4 cup warm milk

1/3 cup melted butter (not hot)

1 tsp salt

1 egg beaten

1 tsp ground cardamom

4 cups all purpose flour

Mix your lukewarm water with the yeast and let it activate for 10 min (it should look bubbly and grow in size). Mix all your dry ingredients together with a whisk. Mix all wet ingredients together and beat them together with a whisk. once the yeast is activated mix it into the wet ingredients. In a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment (you can do this by hand in a large mixing bowl) add your wet ingredients into the dry and mix on low speed until the dough forms. Don’t work it too long or the gluten will over develop and your buns will become tough and chewy. Once the dough is properly mixed cover it with saran wrap and let it rise somewhere warm for 1 - 1.5 hours. The dough should basically double in size. If you notice your dough isn’t rising its likely that you did not activate your yeast properly or you killed it with something too hot (yeast dies at high temperature). Once the dough is proofed use a bench scraper and scale to cut the dough into 70 gram balls (if you don’t have a scale just divide the dough into even pieces). Roll the dough into balls using your cupped hand. Sometimes slightly wetting the surface you are rolling on will help the dough moisten and make it easier to roll. To prevent the pieces of dough you aren’t rolling yet from drying up keep them covered with saran wrap. Place the balls onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper, make sure they are evenly spaced out so they have room to rise. Cover the tray with loose saran wrap and let it rise again for 30-45 min (again until doubled in size). This step is crucial if they buns are under proofed you will end up with a dense end product. Set your oven to 350F and uncover the buns. In a small mixing bowl mix one egg yolk with 3 tbsp of heavy cream (milk will also work) and use a pastry brush to gently brush the mixture on the outside of the buns. Bake for 10 min and flip the tray, back in for another 5. The buns should be golden in colour when they are finnished. Transfer the buns to a resting rack and let them cool. Once cool cut the top off in a circular motion and reserve the tops.

Almond Paste:

1 cup almonds without skins

1 egg white

1/2 cup icing sugar

In a mortar and pestle grind your almonds down into a crumble. Add your sugar and your egge white. Continue to mix into a thick paste. Reserve.

Whipping Cream:

1 cup whipping cream

2 tbsp white sugar

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1 zested lemon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a bowl add all ingredients together and whisk until medium peaks. Don’t over whip. Place into a piping bag with a star tip (you can just dollop with a spoon if you don’t have a piping bag). Reserve.

Assembling:

Take the bottom part of your bun and fill with a spoonful of almond paste. Pipe the whip cream on top in a circular motion and gently place the top of the bun back on. Gently dust with icing sugar and serve.