Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Semla / Fettisdagsbulle / Fat Tuesday Buns

The Semla was originally eaten only on Shrove Tuesday, as the last festive food before Lent. However, with the arrival of the Protestant Reformation, the Swedes stopped observing a strict fasting for Lent. The semla in its bowl of warm milk became a traditional dessert every Tuesday between Shrove Tuesday and Easter. Today, Semlor are available in shops and bakeries every day from shortly after Christmas until Easter. Each Swede consumes on average five bakery-produced semlor each year, in addition to all those that are homemade.
King Adolf Frederick of Sweden died of digestion problems on February 12, 1771 after consuming a meal consisting of lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, smoked herring and champagne, which was topped off by fourteen helpings of Semla with warm milk, the king's favorite dessert.
The Semla is a wonderful, tasty sweet cardamon bun with almond paste and whipped cream.
You Will Need:
For the buns:
  • 150 g Vegan Margarine
  • 500 ml Dairy Free Milk
  • 50 g Fresh Yeast (or equal ammount of dry yeast, read on packet)
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ cup (1-1½ dl) Sugar
  • 1½ tsp Cardamon powder
  • 4 1/4-5½ cup (10-13 dl) Plain Flour

  1. Melt the margarine and add the milk to it. Heat until finger warm (37C / 98F)
  2. Crumble the yeast in a big bowl, add the milk/margarine liquid some at a time to dissolve the yeast.
  3. Add the salt, sugar and cardamon and mix. Once mixed add most of the flour (≈ 2/3 of total ammount)
  4. Add more flour and mix until the dough is shiny and isn't sticking to the bowl. (Remember, don't add too much flour. The dough will be tough and won't rise as good)
  5. Leave to rise in a warm room with no draft covered with a cloth until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. Gently knead the dough and split into 30 round buns. Evenly space the dough balls on a few baking sheets on a trays and leave to rise under a cloth again until the buns are twice their size. (make sure they rise alot to get the light and airy)
  7. Brush with some water and bake in the middle of the oven at (fan oven) 225C / 440F ("normal" oven) 480F / 250C.
  8. Leave to cool.
  • Vegan Whip Cream + a dash of vanillasugar & white sugar (store bought vegan brand or make your own vegan whip by whisking the hard part of full fat coconut milk/cream)
  • Almond Paste
  • Dairy Free Milk
  • Icing Sugar

  1. Whip the cream of your choice with a dash of vanillasugar and white sugar.
  2. Cut the top of the buns (just a small lid) and take a little of the bread out. Mix the bread bits with the almond paste and a small dash of milk. It should be a creamy texture.
  3. Fill the buns with the almond paste mix.
  4. Top with the whipped cream, lid and then dust with icing sugar.
Optional: Serve in a bowl/deep plate with warm dairy free milk.

These buns freeze very well for later use
They are tasty and can be eaten as is 


  1. Wow these look yummy !
    Tack så mycket från Aileen i Nova Scotia :))

    1. Thank you Aileen, TACK! Hope you have a try, they are wonderful. Hope you are enjoying the blog.
      Emma @The Vegan Swedes

  2. Those look delicious!

    1. they are sddictive :)

      emma @The Vegan Swedes

  3. A friend of mine raved about these while she was in Sweden, so I had to give them a try! I used an adaptation of your recipe, and posted it on my blog. Here it is if you are interested: