The Swedish Semla – a cream puff

The Swedish Semla – a cream puff

I can’t think of anything more Swedish than a Swedish Semla. Or correction, Scandinavian, since they are available throughout Scandinavia. However, they go by a different name. This cream puff is an acquired taste. I don’t know anyone who kind of likes a Swedish semla. Either you like or you don’t. I love it. What’s not to like? It’s a wheat bun with cardamom filled with almond paste and whipped cream.

Usually, you eat the Swedish Semla on Shrove Tuesday, and a few decades back bakeries were only allowed to sell them on Tuesdays until Easter. However, now you can pretty much get them just after Christmas and until Easter.

There’s an abundance of recipes on how to make the perfect semla. There are a few requirements on how they should be. The bun needs to moist and fluffy. The almond paste needs to taste like almond and be creamy. The whipped cream should be lightly whipped, but not runny. Easy huh? Don’t worry it will be like a walk in the park.

A few tips and tricks to help you along the way:

  • Make sure that the almond milk or regular milk is no more than 37 degrees C. Fresh yeast can die if it’s too warm. If it’s too cold it only takes longer for the buns to rise.
  • Make sure your dough gets to rise in a warm draft-free place. Dough likes it when it’s humid and warm.
  • Let the buns cool on an oven rack.
  • Whipp the whipping cream slowly until it’s firm but not too hard.
  • Make sure all your ingredients are the same temperature. Especially eggs and butter.

Swedish semla

The Swedish Semla

19th January 2018
: Makes 13
: 15 min
: 1 hr 52 min
: Medium

Make a delicious cream puff, the semla. Filled with almond paste and whipped cream.


  • Dough:
  • 50 gr fresh yeast
  • 1 tbs ground cardamom
  • 300 gr almond milk or regular milk if you prefer
  • 100 gr sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 150 gr soft butter
  • 1 egg plus another egg yolk for brushing
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate
  • 660-720 gr flour
  • Filling:
  • 600 gr whipping cream
  • 400 gr almond paste
  • 1-2 tbsp almond milk
  • 40 gr icing sugar
  • Step 1 Heat the almond milk to 37C add cardamom and dissolve with the yeast.
  • Step 2 Add sugar, salt, butter and egg and mix it.
  • Step 3 Add bicarbonate to the flour and mix well.
  • Step 4 Add the flour mixture and mix well for about 5-6 minutes.
  • Step 5 Let the dough rise under a baking towel for 45 minutes.
  • Step 6 Split the dough into 13 pieces and make them into round balls. Place them on a baking sheet.
  • Step 7 Let them rise for another 45 minutes under a baking towel.
  • Step 8 Set the oven to 200 degrees and bake in the middle of the oven for about 6-7 minutes.
  • Step 9 Let them cool and make the filling in the meantime.
  • Step 10 Grate the almond paste and mix it with almond milk until smooth.
  • Step 11 Whip the cream until fluffy and firm.
  • Step 12 Make the lids by cutting small triangles on the top.
  • Step 13 Fill the Swedish semla with almond paste and whipped cream.
  • Step 14 Sift icing sugar on top.


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