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This is recipe for an authentic Swedish semla made by my friend Louise Vernerstrom from Falun, Sweden. Semlor are pastries that were originally exclusively eaten on Fat Tuesday. However, they are so good that that tradition has changed drastically. Many serve it all year round.


Recipe Summary test

45 mins
14 mins
2 hrs 5 mins
3 hrs 4 mins
20 semlor


Original recipe yields 20 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Almond Paste Filling:


Instructions Checklist
  • Mix flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.

  • Combine warm milk and melted butter in a bowl. Add yeast and stir until completely dissolved. Mix in eggs and cardamom. Stir in flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Cover with a clean towel and let rise for 1 hour.

  • Punch dough down gently and divide into 20 pieces; shape into balls. Arrange balls on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover with a towel and let rise for about 45 minutes.

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

  • Bake until golden brown, about 14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 20 minutes.

  • Cut 1/2 inch off the top of each bun to make a 'lid.' Scoop out the core of the bun gently with a fork. Repeat with remaining buns, setting tops aside and placing cores in a large bowl.

  • Pour some milk over the cores to moisten. Mix in almond paste until smooth. Continue adding small amounts of milk until filling resembles a thick pudding. Spoon almond paste filling into the center of the buns.

  • Combine heavy cream and 2 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.

  • Top buns generously with whipped cream and place 'lids' on top. Use a sifter to dust tops with confectioners' sugar.

Cook's Notes:

Use cream to moisten the bread center for a richer almond paste filling.

If almond paste is not available in your area, marzipan works just as well although a little sweeter with less almond taste.

Nutrition Facts

327 calories; protein 5.5g; carbohydrates 36.3g; fat 18.1g; cholesterol 68mg; sodium 231.2mg. Full Nutrition