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.

1 comment: