tisdag, februari 09, 2016

The Semla

Rooted in tradition

The semla – a small, wheat flour bun, flavoured with cardamom and filled with almond paste and whipped cream – has become something of a carb-packed icon in Sweden. The traditions of semla are rooted in fettisdag(Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday) when the buns were eaten at a last celebratory feast before the Christian fasting period of Lent. At first, a semla was simply a bun, eaten soaked in hot milk (known as "hetvägg")

The changing face of semla

At some point Swedes grew tired of the strict observance of Lent, added cream and almond paste to the mix and started eating semla every Tuesday between Shrove Tuesday and Easter.
Today, no such reservations exist and semlor (the plural of semla) usually appear in bakery windows as near after Christmas as is deemed decent – and sometimes even before. This is followed by a collective, nationwide moan about how it gets earlier every year. Shortly thereafter people begin to eat the things like the world will end tomorrow.
But, increasingly, not just any semla will do. Every year, at around the same time that the bakeries fill with semlor, the Swedish newspapers start to fill with semla taste tests. Panels of ‘experts’ dissect and inspect tables full of semlor to find the best in town.


When:Shrove Tuesday, known as Fettisdagen or ‘Fat Tuesday’ in Sweden

Where:Every bakery and café worth its salt. Or sugar and fat in this case. 

Who:Semla addicts who love them and eat them daily and traditionalists who only eat them on weekends, and the truly traditional who only eat them on Fat Tuesday.

How to do it like a local:Start with the lid. Use it to scoop up some of the gooey contents. Proceed with the rest of the bun.

The carnal eat it shamelessly straight from hand-to-mouth. The refined like to fork-it. Bohemians do it with a spoon. Tourists do it with confusion.
And traditionalists order it in a bowl of warm milk.

All are equally good.....!


Semla recipe

About 15 large or 25 small buns

100 g butter
300 ml milk, 3%
50 g fresh yeast (for sweet dough)
1 tsp crushed cardamom or the grated peel of 1 orange
½ tsp salt
85 g sugar
about 500–550 g plain flour
1 beaten egg for brushing

200 g marzipan
bun centres
100 ml milk
300 ml whipping cream

Icing sugar for dusting

1. Melt the butter and add the milk. Heat to 37°C.

2. Crumble the yeast in a bowl and add the cardamom or the orange peel.

3. Add the milky liquid and stir until the yeast has melted. Stir in the salt, the sugar and most of the flour, but save a little flour for later.

4. Work the dough in a food processor/dough mixer for about 15 minutes.

5. Let it rise to twice its size in the bowl, about 40 minutes.

6. Place the dough on a floured pastry board and cut into pieces. Roll into buns and place on oven paper or greased baking sheet. Let the buns rise to twice their size, about one hour.

7. Brush the buns with egg. Bake in the lower part of the oven, at 225°C for around 8–10 minutes for large buns and 250°C for 5–7 minutes for small. Leave to cool on wire racks.

8. Cut off the bun tops. Scoop out the centre of each bun (about 2 tsp) and crumble in a bowl.

9. Rough grate the marzipan and mix it with the crumbs and milk into a creamy mass.

10. Fill the hollow buns with this mixture.

11. Whip the cream and squirt or spoon it over the filling. Place the top on the bun and dust with icing sugar.

12. Serve alone with coffee or in the form of a hetvägg in a deep bowl with warm milk and ground cinnamon.


If you do not want to bake wheat bun, before making a Semla ..? 
Then you can buy a wheat bun at the bakery,

fill it with almond paste and wipped cream,

and volaa....! you have a finished SEMLA!

Semla and fika by numbers

5 bakery-bought semlor are eaten by each Swede per year.
160 kilos was the weight of the world’s biggest semla, made in Linköping in 2001.

14 hetvägg (semla served in a bowl of warm milk) were eaten by King Adolf Frederick on 12 February 1771 before he died of digestion problems.

78,000 tons of coffee were imported into Sweden in 2010.
3,563 people sat down to the world’s largest fika in Östersund in 2009.

51 per cent of people living in Norrland (Sweden’s northern region) claim to have a fika at least twice per day.

17 per cent of Stockholmers also claim to have a fika at least twice per day.


Dikten "Tomten" av Abraham Viktor Rydberg född 18 december 1828 i Jönköping i Jönköpings län (Småland) död 21 septemb...