Friday, June 15, 2012

Swedish bakes: Semla

In Sweden we have some strange traditions. Don't get me wrong, I love most of them, but alot of our traditions seem to have slowly faded and all that's left of it is the tradition to eat a certain food on a certain day. This baked goodie is one of those things that most people don't remember why we eat it, they just eat it.

Originally the Semla was eaten before or during the fast that led up to Easter. Some believe that it was invented during that same period by the exception that you were allowed to eat white bread during the fast. According to some, the people cheted on their fast by hiding other goods inside the bread - where noone could see it!

A semla is a piece of white bread(bread roll) cut open, filled with almond paste and whippd cream and dusted with powder sugar. This recipe contains spelt flour and a home made sugar free almonst paste with hazelnut. I made this during my low-GI period that I had earlier this spring and they turned out pretty good. Definitely more filling than the original.

Semla - bread:
50g fresh yeast
3 dl milk
2 tsp sweetener(+ 1 tbsp of sugar to feed the yeast if you want them fluffy)
75 g butter
1 egg
7 dl spelt flour
1 dl whole meal spelt flour
1 tsp whole cardamom
1 egg to coat the buns

How to:
Pestle the cardamom seeds. Heat the mlk to 37C. Dissolve the yeast in the milk.
Add sweetener(and sugar), butter, a lightly pre-whisked egg, flour and cardamom. Work the dough until it's got the chewing gum consistensy(about 5 min with a machine). Cover the bowl and let rest for 30-60 minutes until it's about doubled in size.
Split in 16 pieces and shape to balls. Put them on trays, cover and let rise for another 30 min.
Set the oven to 250C, coat the buns with a lightly whisked egg. Put the bread in the oven and lower the temperature to 225C. Let them bake for about 10 min. They're done when they feel light of sound hollow if you tap the bottom.

Almond hazelnut paste:
2 dl whole almonds
0.5 dl whole hazelnuts
1 egg white
1 dl sweetener

How to:
Boil some water and drop the almonds in for about 10-30 seconds. Take them out and let them cool just a little bit before you peel them by squeezing one of the ends of the almonds.
Put all ingredients in a mixer and blend until smooth. Scrape down if needed. Pack the paste in plastic and shape into a log. Keep in the fridge until you're ready to use it.

Whipping cream
sweetener(or sugar)
powder sugar

How to:
Cut a the top off the bread.
With a fork, scrape out a small hole in the bottom half of the bread. Mix the scraped out bread crumbs with some of the almond paste. I added some milk to my almond-bread mix to make it softer and easier to work with. Take some of the mixture and lightly squish it down into the hole in the bread roll.
Whip up some whipping cream and sweeten it, either with sweeteners or with sugar. Pipe(or just splat) some whipped cream onto the bottom of the bread roll. Put the small lid back on, preferrably at an angle and dust your piece of art with some powder sugar.

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