Scandi tip #10: Semla

Picture from Wikipedia.

At this time of year, there is only one pastry on people’s minds in Sweden and Scandinavia, the semla.

It is a regular wheat bun (almost like a brioche), made from a similar recipe to cinnamon buns. You then cut off the lid and fill it with whipped cream and marzipan, put the lid back on and add copious amounts on icing sugar to the buns.

When I was a child I only made homemade ones, as the bought ones, even from a nice bakery, tend to have a very gooey marzipan and I like the sweet almondy set one.

Some people but the semla in a bowl of hot milk called hetvägg (hot wall) and eat the soggy thing with a spoon, but I find that all wrong to be honest.

Anyway, the story behind these semlor has to do with Lent, and these used to eaten on only one day; Shrove Tuesday, before Lent started. Now they are available from bakeries from the beginning of January until a week or so after Shrove Tuesday, which this year is on the 21st February.

If you want to try this delicacy, you are bound to find them at Nordic Bakery, Scandinavian Kitchen and maybe also at Fika, in London. Or why not make your own?


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