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5 from 2 votes

Swedish Semlor (Lent Buns)

Prep Time1 hr 10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert/Fika
Cuisine: Swedish
Keyword: buns,, Fika,, Scandinavian,
Servings: 12 buns



  • 20 g strong white bread flour
  • 60 g water
  • 60 g whole milk


  • 500 g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp freshly ground cardamom
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 50 g unsalted butter room temperature & cut into dice
  • 235 ml whole milk straight from the fridge, no need to heat.
  • 25 g fresh bakers yeast or 8g fast action dried yeast
  • 1 large egg plus extra for glazing

Almond paste

  • 200 g skinned almonds
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 1 tbls egg white
  • 1 tsp water


  • 200 Almond paste
  • 150 ml milk approx
  • 550 ml double cream
  • 1 tbls icing sugar


Almond Paste

  • Pulse the skinned almonds in a food processor to a coarse crumb, don’t over mix as they will become claggy. Place in a bowl and add the egg white, water and icing sugar. Stir until it starts to come together like a dough. Press into a sausage shape, wrap and place in the fridge until needed.


  • Place all three ingredients in a small saucepan. Whisk together with a balloon whisk, on a medium to high heat until it thickens and bubbles. Remove from the heat and pour onto a plate and cover. Once it’s cooled to room temperature, it’s ready to use.


  • Place the flour, sugar, salt in the bowl of a free standing mixer with a dough hook attached and then add the cooled tanghzong.
  • Sprinkle the yeast into the milk in a bowl and stir to dissolve. (If using dried just add it to the flour).  Pour the milk into the flour and mix on a slow speed.  Now add the egg. Finally add the butter, mix until you have a smooth, silky, elastic dough, approximately 5-6 minutes. You may need to add an extra tablespoon of flour if the dough sticks to the side of the mixing bowl. Place in a plastic box with a lid and seal. Pop in the fridge overnight to prove. (up to 20 hours).
  • When you're ready to bake the next day knock back the dough and divide into 12 even pieces. Roll each piece in turn on a lightly floured work surface using your cupped hand until it forms a smooth bun. Place the buns on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Leave to prove covered for a further 45-60 minutes depending on the room temperature (the dough is colder so it will take longer) or to speed the proving up you can place the buns in the oven, SWITCHED OFF with a bowl of freshly boiled water, don’t cover them. They will take 30-40 minutes to prove.
  • Meanwhile pre-heat the oven 200°C fan/Gas 7.
  • Brush each bun with egg wash and then bake in the middle of the oven for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  • Once the buns have cooled, they need to be hollowed out. You can either cut a triangle or literally slice the top off, then scoop out 1/3 of the insides and then crumble. Weigh out 200g of the almond paste. (Freeze the remainder for another time). Grate the almond paste into a bowl and then add the milk and the bun crumbs to make a smoothish paste with the icing sugar. It should be a nice soft pipe-able consistency, you may have to add more milk than stated.
  • Add 1-2 teaspoons of icing sugar and the vanilla extract to the cream and whip until the cream just holds its form.
  • Fill the buns with the almond filling using a spoon or a piping bag. Pipe or spoon the cream on top and then put the tops back on. Dust with icing sugar and enjoy.


*The buns freeze well for up to 3 months (unfilled).
*This recipe can be halved successfully.