Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday and bakers all over the country (and all over the Nordic) were, and probably still are, whipping up fluffy lenten buns. I made my own this year. Two times even. The first version seemed to be too buttery and not airy enough. Wasn't happy with the shape either. After careful consideration and armed with a scientific approach, I tweaked the recipe to alter the structure of the bun. Second try resulted in perfectly round buns with a texture quite similar to the ones you'd get from shops or good bakeries. I do not consider it to be perfect, yet, but still very close.
I prepared two different fillings. After quaffing them all down, most of the family expressed their preference for the classic marzipan.
Toast Skagen (couldn't find löjrom!) and a muffin made of leftovers.
Last week, during a casual trip to the small grocery store on the corner of the street, I found this darling bottle of milk.
I couldn't have been more excited! Organic whole milk from Riido Farm, produced less than 8 km from our house.
Cute as a button, too!
Semlor - Swedish lenten buns
30g butter, melted
2 quail eggs or 1 small egg white
15g fresh yeast
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp salt
milk and a bit of sugar, for brushing
Sieve flour into a bowl. Heat milk to 38°C. Mix yeast with sugar and warm milk. Pour into the flour, add cardamom, salt, quail eggs and butter. Mix it all together and knead into a smooth dough. About 7 minutes with a machine or a bit longer by hand. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 50 minutes.
Divide the dough into nine equal pieces. Briefly kneading each piece between your palms, roll the bits of dough into beautiful spheres and place on a baking tray, leaving enough space between them. The buns will be double the size after rising and baking. Cover the tray and leave to rise in a warm place for 30-40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 210-220°C. Brush the buns with sweetened milk and bake in the oven for 8 minutes. Do keep an eye on them as they will brown quickly. If the buns are not done after about eight minutes, then the oven is not hot enough. If the buns seem to get burnt then the oven is too hot.
After removing the buns from the oven brush them again with sweetened milk. This prevents the crust on top from going too brittle or tough while cooling.
135g quality marzipan, ca 60% almonds
3-4 tbsp milk
300ml double cream
icing sugar, to taste
Finely chop or grate marzipan into a bowl. Add three tablespoons of milk.
With a serrated knife, cut the tops off the buns. Not too much, about half a centimetre is enough. Now dig a hole into each bun, removing a spoonful of crumb from each. Place half of the breadcrumbs into the bowl, discarding the rest. Using a fork, mash the marzipan and crumb mixture into a nice soft paste. Add a bit more milk if it is not soft enough, but it should not be runny.
Use this marzipan paste to fill the cavities of the buns.
Sweeten double cream with icing sugar, about two-three spoonfuls, and whisk until fluffy.
Top filled buns with a good heaping of whipped cream and replace the bun caps on top.
The most common alternative filling consists of whipped cream or curd cheese paste mixed with some sweet and sour jam, like cowberry, cranberry or blackcurrant.
Serve alongside a steaming cup of coffee or on a deep plate, submerged in warm milk infused with vanilla.