Swe-Dishes: Swedish Freak’s Semla Recipe for Fettisdagen


Food & Drink

Swe-Dishes: Swedish Freak’s Semla Recipe for Fettisdagen

Let the Fettisdagen celebrations begin!

All around the world, people feast and celebrate on the day before Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), known as Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras or if you’re Swedish, Fettisdagen. A popular dish Swedes enjoy on this day is Semla (or the plural semlor), an almond paste-filled pastry topped with whipped cream. And we can see why this delicate, delicious and perfectly sweetened little roll is a must.

If you can’t find Semla at a bakery near you, we’re reposting this mean recipe by Hilary St. Johnn of SwedishFreak.com

Photo: Pumbster


For buns:

  • 1/2 c. (100g) margarine or butter
  • 1 1/4 c. (3 dl) milk
  • 5 tsp (25g) yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c. (1 dl) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp Hjorthorn Salt (Baker’s Ammonia) (We could not find this anywhere in the States, so I recommend you purchase it online. If you want to be lazy, replace with baking powder in same amount.)
  • 4 c. (9 dl) all-purpose flour

For filling & topping:

  • Almond paste
  • Whipped cream
  • Powdered sugar


The buns:

  1. Melt butter in a pan, add milk and heat until lukewarm.
  2. Crumble yeast in a small bowl. Add a little of the lukewarm butter/milk mixture and mix.
  3. Add the rest of the butter/milk mixture, along with salt, sugar, egg and most of the flour.
  4. Work the dough until it is glossy and smooth and no longer sticks to the bowl. Let sit under a baking towel (or hand towel) for 30 minutes.
  5. Take the dough to a bread board and knead until smooth.
  6. Take an amount about the size of your hand and roll into a ball. Flatten down, fold over, and roll back into a ball multiple times and set aside. Once you have made balls out of all the dough let it sit under a towel until it doubles in size, about 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 225-250C (450F). Bake the buns for 5-8 minutes, until golden brown.

The filling and topping:

  1. Whip some cream!
  2. Put some almond paste in a bowl. Add some whip cream (as much as you want, recommend 50/50) and mix.

Making the Semlor:

  1. Cut the top off of a cool bun and set aside.
  2. Scoop out the middle of the bun and discard (or eat).
  3. Fill the bun with your almond paste mix.
  4. Top with whip cream.
  5. Place the top of the bun on top.
  6. Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top


This recipe makes about 12 buns, but can vary according to size. You can eat the semlor as is, or with milk.


Hilary St. Johnn founded SwedishFreak.com in 2010 when she moved to northern Sweden and fell in love with the country. She continues to write from sunny Phoenix, Ariz., bringing Swedish awesomeness to whatever she can.  When she isn’t writing for Swedish Freak, she works on her blog HilarysHome.com, is the caretaker of four furry ferrets and one less-furry husband.


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