Semlor (singular : semla) is the Swedish name for these delectable little (OK my version was little) buns. I first saw them on a friend’s Fascebook page more than two years ago. Her Scandanavian partner had produced these around Easter time and from her pictures, they looked delicious. I remember reading at the time that the buns were full of cardamom and that’s all I needed to know. Buns with cardamom, almond and cream sounded like something that would be right up my alley.
All my semlor-related knowledge came from Wikipedia and from this page which is also the source of my recipe (s). Traditionally, these buns are meant to be eaten on Mardi-gras or Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday – the day before the start of Lent. Apparently, in Sweden there are long queues at bakeries that specialise in making and selling semlor on Shrove Tuesday. Having made semlor once, I reckon they should be an all-year bun, not just Mardi-gras buns. Just make sure you don’t eat them like the old Swedish King Adolf Fredrik did. Fable says that he died after eating 14 servings of semla in hot milk.
With this post, I have provided links to the recipes I used and have demonstrated the methdolofy in pictures. Hope you find it useful and give it a try!
Whole cardamom pods in the background. In the foreground, from left to right (1) half-open pod (2) peels (3) seeds (4) ground cardamom
At work, we have this tradition of bringing back goodies from a holiday/conference destination. It was one such occasion that someone came back from France and brought back these little, buttery, shell-shaped parcels of goodness. I can’t say I have seen them in the UK very often (surprised anyone ?) but I learnt their name – Madeleines. Since that day I’ve been wanting to make them. I decided to demand a Madeleine tray for a birthday present and it was dutifully delivered by my partner. As a thank you present, I decided to make some the following weekend.
I looked around for a few recipes and settled on David Leibovitz’s one for proportions. I got tips on how to get the browned butter taste/smell into the madeleines from the Asutralian SBS website. The inspiration for orange flavoured ones came from Chez Pim though I didn’t actually use her recipe. Finally, the rose water was my little addition to the lemon madeleines. Hope you try them and like them – we sure did. I gave a whole batch and half away and everyone who received it loved it too.