I know it's not Easter. It should, in fact, be summer but you could be mistaken for thinking it was autumn going into winter most days here in London right now. So back to Easter. Or rather not being Easter, but these lovely little buns that are traditionally served at Easter in Sweden should be served all year around. Doesn't the name sounds romantic "Bollos de Pascua suecos"? Much nicer than "Swedish Easter Buns"!
I hadn't tried these before, but saw a photo on Pinterest that stayed somewhere in the back of my mind for a day such as this one. When we were recently in Canada, out in the Algonquin National Park, we made many visits to our favourite bakery, Henrietta's Bakery, where they had lots of traditional buns filled with jam and cream, fresh cakes and pies and somewhere amongst all of this I was reminded of these little buns. Incidentally, if you ever find yourself in the Algonquin National Park with a craving for something sweet, I thoroughly recommend a visit to that lovely bakery for their amazing sticky buns :)
But back to my Semlor buns which are in essence bread flavoured with cardamom. The cardamom is freshly ground so it has a really vibrant flavour and smell. I'm not a huge cardamom fan (especially if you find me accidentally chewing on one in my pilau rice) but the 1 teaspoon in these buns is not too overbearing and adds a rather pleasant flavour.
Once they are baked and cooled, it's time for their little hats to come off. Then a small amount of the insides are scooped out ready to be mixed with almond paste and then layered back inside the bun. I made my own almond paste which meant I could make it to my desired consistency and as sweet as I liked it. This is then topped with a generous swirl of the most delicious mascarpone cream mixed with vanilla paste, icing sugar, milk and cream. Its little hat goes back on top and then it's dusted with icing sugar. There. Easy, right?
There are a few different sources that inspired these which found me translating Swedish recipes (and as such missing important stages!) but my recipe was in the main adapted from Swedish Food and Mercaditas Bakery. These buns do have a few different stages but it's totally worth the effort. The freshly ground spice really does give this a lift and transforms it from just a bread bun whilst pairing really well with the almond and mascarpone cream.
They're lovely enjoyed with a cup of coffee - but in my world it's always a hot chocolate :)
Semlor "Bollos De Pascua Suecos"
- 75G BUTTER
- 300ML MILK
- 10G FAST ACTION DRIED YEAST
- ½ TSP SALT
- 55G SUGAR
- 1 TSP FRESHLY GROUND CARDAMOM
- 500G PLAIN FLOUR
- 1 EGG
Almond Paste Ingredients
- 125g GROUND ALMONDS
- 60ML MILK
- ICING SUGAR TO TASTE
Mascarpone Cream Ingredients
- 250G REFRIGERATED MASCARPONE
- 120ML WHIPPING CREAM
- 60G ICING SUGAR
- 1 TSP VANILLA PASTE
- Melt the butter in a saucepan
- Add the milk and heat until it's lukewarm and mixed well
- Add the yeast and mix until it's all dissolved
- Put the salt, sugar, cardamom and flour in a mixer and make a well in the centre
- Add the buttery milk mixture and egg and then mix for 5 mins with the dough hook (or alternatively knead it by hand)
- The mixture should be sticky but not stick to your hands when it's ready
- Place in an oiled bowl covered loosely with clingfilm and leave to prove for a half hour
- Gently turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth
- Divide the dough into equal balls (I wanted 8 so just calculated what each ball needed to weigh and used the weighing scales to make sure they were all even sized at around 95g)
- Put the dough balls onto 2 baking sheets lined with baking paper, cover with a tea towel and leave for another 40 mins
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees (fan)
- Bake for 25 mins until the tops are browned and then allow to cool
- If you're not filling the buns immediately, store them in an airtight container as they tend to dry out quickly
- Make the almond paste by mixing all the ingredients together - the icing sugar is at your discretion until the paste is sweet enough for you, but as a guide, I added 3 tablespoons
- Cut a small hat off the top of each bun and place aside
- Then scoop out a little of the bread from inside each bun and add this into the almond paste, then mix together
- At this stage, I added a little more milk until I had a creamy paste
- Divide the paste between each of the buns
- Then beat the mascarpone, icing sugar and vanilla paste until mixed together
- Add the whipping cream and beat on high until it holds its shape and forms stiff peaks
- Using a star nozzle, pipe the cream onto each bun
- Then replace their hats
- Sprinkle liberally with icing sugar!