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Recipe: Whip up a batch of scrummy Scandinavian Selma buns this Easter

PUBLISHED: 12:04 26 March 2018 | UPDATED: 18:54 26 March 2018

Semlor (or semla) buns. Photo: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

Semlor (or semla) buns. Photo: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis


Make these tasty cardamom and cream-filled buns as part of your Easter weekend celebrations.

Also known as ‘fat buns’, these traditional Scandinavian bakes are sold in the lead up to Lent, and form an important part of the culinary heritage of countries such as Sweden.

The dough is soft and similar to a brioche but less buttery, and infused with a delicate hum of crushed cardamom and lemon zest.

Inside is a dollop of fresh almond paste and a generous piping of cream. I’ve also ticked inside a spoonful of Thursday Cottage’s sour cherry curd, which gives them brightness. You could use a juicy, tart lemon curd instead if you like.

Semlor (semla) buns

(makes 15)


115g water mixed with 115g milk

85g unsalted butter

Zest 1 lemon

85g caster sugar

565g strong white bread flour

1tsp finely crushed cardamom

Pinch salt

1 sachet dried yeast

1 large egg

1 egg yolk mixed with 1tbsp milk to glaze

Flour for shaping

For the almond filling:

100g icing sugar

1 medium egg white

60g ground almonds

1/2tsp almond extract

To finish:

Cherry (or lemon) curd

300g double cream, whipped

Icing sugar to dust


Make the dough, Place the milk and water mix, lemon zest, sugar and butter in a pan and warm on a low heat until the butter has melted.

Place the bread flour, salt and cardamom in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Sprinkle the yeast into the well and pour over the warm butter/milk mix. Leave for five minutes. Add the egg. Bring together with a knife and turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and springy.

Place in a greased bowl, cover with clingfilm or a plastic bag and leave in a warm place for an hour until it’s doubled in size.

Once doubled, Place the dough on floured surface and knead it once more lightly. Cut into 15 equal pieces and roll into ball shapes. Place on two lined baking sheets, cover and leave somewhere warm for 20 minutes.

Heat the oven to 175C. Brush the buns with the yolk and milk mix and bake for 15 minutes.

While the buns bake making the almond filling. Mix the icing sugar, egg white, almonds and almond extract into a loose paste and set aside.

Remove the buns from the oven to a wire rack. Once cool, cut off the tops and add a spoon of curd, a teaspoon of the almond paste and a piping of cream. Pop the tops back on and generously dust with icing sugar. They’re best eaten on the day of making.

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