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+ servings
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time
1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
1 hr 45 mins
Semla is a traditional Swedish pastry eaten at Mardi Gras. It is a soft milk brioche filled with whipped cream and almond paste.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Swedish, Vegetarian
Servings: 25 semlor
Author: Vera Abitbol
For the dough
  • lb all purpose flour
  • tablespoons active dry yeast
  • cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter , soft
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground cardamom
  • 2 egg yolks
For the whipped cream
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • ¾ cup icing sugar
  • cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
  1. Heat milk until it reaches a temperature of 100F/36C.

  2. Dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add sugar, butter, eggs and cardamom and mix well.
  3. Pour the flour gradually until you obtain a smooth dough (you may not have to use all the flour). Incorporate the salt.
  4. Cover and let rise for 1 hour, in a warm place, away from drafts.
  5. Place the dough on a floured work surface and divide it into 25 equal pieces (about 1 oz/30g each), and form balls.

  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place each ball, making sure you leave enough space between them.
  7. Cover and let rise for another 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350F/180C.

  9. Brush the rolls with the beaten egg yolk and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they turn golden.
  10. Take them out of the oven, and place each of them on a rack.
Whipped cream
  1. Pour the heavy cream and the icing sugar in the bowl of a stand-in mixer, and whisk for a few minutes until it becomes airy and not too dense. Transfer to a pastry bag with a tip.
Almond paste
  1. Mix the icing sugar, the sugar and the almond meal until obtaining a fine powder. Then, sieve the powder.
  2. Beat the egg white for 1 minute.
  3. Pour the almond powder into the egg white, add the almond extract, then knead by hand to obtain a homogeneous and firm dough.
  4. Transfer the almond paste into a pastry bag with a tip.
Assembling of Semlor
  1. Cut out a small piece at top of each roll and take a little bit of the inside out to make some space to fill.
  2. Using the pastry bags, fill each roll with a third of almond paste and two thirds of whipped cream, then cover with the small top.
  3. Dust a little icing sugar on top of each semla before serving.