Swedish Semlor: Sweet Almond and Cream Filled Cardamom Buns

While listening to NPR this morning I was intrigued by the segment on the traditional Swedish dessert, Semlor. A semla is a cardmom spiced bun filled with sweet almond paste and whipped cream and dusted with powdered sugar. Yum. It was traditionally associated as a dessert to eat before Lent or on Fat Tuesday. I am neither Swedish nor an observer of Lent, yet I still wanted in on this delicatessen. I scoured the internet for  a gluten-free recipe of Semlor and thankfully came across "Cooking Gluten-Free with Anna". The only thing I changed in her original recipe was an exchange from guar gum to xanthan gum. I give her full credit for this delightful recipe and am now a follower of her delicious blog. 

                            Swedish Semlor: Sweet Almond and Cream Filled Cardamom Buns

Makes ~24 buns

Semla Bun:
6 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tsp dry yeast
2 tsp psyllium husks ( see below, on resources)
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tsp for the yeast liquid
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp kosher salt
2tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp gelatin, unflavored
2 large eggs, whisked
3 tsp ground cardamon
1 1/2 cups corn starch
1 cup white rice flour, plus 1/3 cup for rolling the dough
1 cup tapioca starch

Egg Wash:
1 large egg, whisked
1 tbsp water

7 oz GF almond paste
1 -2 tbsp milk, enough to blend with almond paste

Whipped Cream:
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp confectioners' sugar

Melt butter in a medium sauce pan. Add the milk to the melted butter and heat until about 110-115 degrees F. Pour the heated liquid into a medium-sized bowl.

Add the yeast, psyllium husks, 1 tsp sugar and whisk together until yeast has dissolved. Let sit for 10 minutes to proof and activate the yeast. The liquid should expand.

Pour the yeast liquid into a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar, honey, salt, xanthan gum, gelatin, the whisked eggs, cardamom, and gluten-free flours to the mixer. Beat on medium speed for 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl occasionally. The dough will be sticky, do not worry, this is normal.

Remove the mixing bowl. Drape a clean kitchen towel, or plastic wrap, over the bowl. Place the mixing bowl in a warm part of the kitchen, and let the dough rise for 75 minutes.

Shape the dough into 3" balls by scooping the dough out with a large spoon. Using wet hands, gently press into shape. You might need to wet your hands in between each roll, to prevent the dough from sticking and to create a smooth surface. But take care not to make the dough soggy.

Place the rolls onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Allow the rolls to rise, loosely covered with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, for 40 minutes.

During the last 20 minutes of the rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove covers from the baking sheets. Using a pastry brush, brush each roll with the egg wash.

Bake near center of the oven for about 15-18 minutes, or until golden.

Transfer the rolls to a wire rack, cover with the kitchen towels, and let cool to room temperature. The buns are also delicious on their own, sliced and spread with some butter.

Once cool, cut a slice off the top of the bun. Scoop out the center of the bun.

Blend the almond paste with the milk until smooth. Add additional milk if needed until the filling is nearly as soft as pudding.

Whip cream with the confectioners' sugar to soft peaks. Fill each bun with a spoonful of the almond mixture. Pipe whipped cream on top of the filling to about 1/2 inch over the top of the bun. Replace the top onto the bun, and dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.

I hope you love these as much as I do. 

Enjoy semla without the filling. Warm and spread with pat of butter!


*Psyllium husks are the same as Metamusil, which is gluten-free. Get the unflavored variety. This adds fiber, texture and elasticity to the dough.


Asian Noodle Salad with Grilled Chicken

Asian Noodle Salad with Grilled Chicken

1 cup orange juice
1 tsp allspice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tbs honey or agave
2 tbs sesame oil
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp sea salt

Reduce orange juice with allspice to 1/2 cup over medium heat. Then whisk in vinegar, honey, salt and sesame oil. Slowly whisk in olive-oil. Remove from heat and set aside.

10-12 cups baby greens
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (grilled with olive oil and salt and pepper)
8oz package 100% buckwheat soba noodles (cooked according to package directions)
1/4 cup scallions, sliced
1/2 cup carrots, julienned
1/2 cup sunflower sprouts
1/4 to 1/2 cup roasted peanuts

Mix all the ingredients, except chicken, together.  Add desired amount of vinaigrette and toss gently. Divide evenly among 4 to 6 plates and top with grilled chicken and extra peanuts and sprouts.

(I didn't have sunflower sprouts, so I used fresh peas for the photo)


Pasta with Petite Peas and Bacon

Pasta with Peas and Bacon
  • Ingredients:
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 slices bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 shallots, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 package ( about 10 ounces) frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 package GF spaghetti or fettucini noodles 

Set a large pot of water to boil. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain (leave fat in skillet).

Add shallots to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add peas and half-and-half; season with salt and pepper. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes

Cook gluten-free pasta in boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta, and return to pot. Pour pea sauce over pasta; toss to combine, adding some reserved pasta water a little at a time to coat (if needed). Sprinkle 
with bacon, and serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Everyday Food, March 2008