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Morsdag – Norwegian Mother’s Day

February 8, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

Morsdag – Norwegian Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is celebrated in many countries – but only Norway celebrates it the second Sunday in February which this year falls on the 11th. Mother’s Day was celebrated the first time in 1908 following an initiative from Anna Marie Jarvis who wanted to honour her mother for her work during the American civil war. The celebration became official in 1913, and set to fall on the second Sunday in May which is the day most countries observe it.

There is little evidence as to why they in Norway moved it to February – but it is likely linked to the many official holidays already observed in May; May 1st, May 17th, Christ Ascension day and Pentecost which can both fall in May. With any luck, you will have 4 additional days of during May if they all fall during the week.

Regardless of when it is celebrated, a special day to treat your Mamma should be acknowledged – in Norway you’ll often see cards, breakfast in bed or a present of some sort. Many people also see it as an excuse to get together for some family time – but whatever you do, just make sure to give your mamma a teeny bit of extra attention. If you are lucky enough to be spending the day with her you might want to mark the occasion with a little treat? This year it coincides with Fastlavn Sunday (the Norwegian equivalent to Shrove Tuesday and when most people eat their buns) so a given suggestion is the Norwegian jam semla – but we have listed a few other options for you in case you know some weirdo who doesn’t like these.

  1. Norwegian Jam Semlor AKA Fastelavnsboller. Cardamom scented buns filled with jam and lightly sweetened whipped cream. Get her favourite jam to fill them with.
  2. Sally’s chocolate buns. In case you live with someone who doesn’t appreciate the combo cream and bun (we know – they should simply be expelled from your household – but in the spirit of giving, we offer them chocolate buns instead). Think cinnamon bun but with chocolate in place of the cinnamon filling.
  3. Daim cookies. Addictive in their golden crispy chewiness and sweet enough to be the perfect excuse for a fourth cup of coffee, even on a Sunday. Plus they don’t require kneading.
  4. Lingonberry and spice layer cake (recipe in ScandiKitchen: Fika & Hygge). Looks gratifyingly impressive for the comparatively easy process – sure to score you tons of offspring-points. For any Norwegians out there – this is like a lighter take on classic ‘krydderkake’ layered with a cream cheese frosting tangy with lingonberries. Mamma will be impressed.
  5. Seeded rye rolls (recipe in the ScandiKitchen cookbook) Perhaps not your typical treat – but just imagine how nice it is to wake to a house smelling of freshly made bread, the breakfast table set and the coffee brewing. Nothing to do for mamma but sit down. A loving gesture if ever we saw one. Just make sure you also take care of the tidying up – unfortunately any goodwill built up from enjoying a prepared breakfast is at risk of dissipating with each crumb that needs tidying.
  6. Rye and bluberry granola bars (recipe in ScandiKitchen: Fika & Hygge) – attached to a promise of a hike, together. Fill a thermos with hot coffee, and you have the scene set for a lovely day spent outside. Don’t over complicate it – a walk to the nearest park and bench is fine.
  7. A cup of really good coffee and a card. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Write a card and say thanks for being mamma and bring her a cup of coffee or tea. This one is our current favourite.

Picture credit: Peter Cassidy for Ryland Peters & Small / ScandiKitchen: Fika & Hygge

15 shades of Semlor

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15 shades of Semlor

So, we decided that seeing as Sweden keeps coming up with new fancy versions of Semlor, we needed to have a go, too.

The traditional Semla bun (Semla is singular, semlor is plural) is a cardamom yeast bun, filled with marzipan, whipped cream and dusted with icing sugar. Traditonally eaten around Lent – especially on Fat Tuesday (you may know it as Shrove Tuesday) – Semlor are the most delicious thing ever invented. We start serving them in January and we stop around Easter. Here is our best recipe – Classic Semlor.

It used to be illegal to serve Semlor outside of season. Swedes LOVE seasons. Crayfish season is August, Eurovision season is May and Semlor is around February (depending on when Lent and Easter falls). Only bake and eat these in season.

So, every year, bakeries in Sweden compete to come up with NEW Semlor. Even though, to be fair, people really just mostly prefer the original one – but once you have eaten 4 or 5 of those, a bit of variety is good. So, we decided to come up with some different ones, too. All of our semlor have cardamom flavour and keep to the main traditional flavour notes. Some we have been inspired by via other bakeries in Sweden – and some are our own creations.

We’d love to see what YOU can do – have you got an idea for a hybrid semla? We want to see a photo and hear all about it! Send us your suggestion before Fat Tuesday and you will be in with a chance of winning is big gift basket from our shop full of treats. Send your entry to iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk. Usual rules apply.

1. Pride Semla

This is our favourite from our testing day. It was pretty hard to make, seeing as we had to colour the dough, then roll it and then twist it and make sure it baked properly. We kept the filling original, but added glitter to the whipped cream (although you can’t really see it in the photo). We like to claim this one as ours, as we have not seen anyone else make #PrideSemlor. So there.

2. Lemon Curd Semla

We added lemon zest to the dough and lemon zest to the marzipan filling. Then a dollop of lovely lemon curd and whipped cream. Oh yes. Hail the Lemon Semla.

3. Saffron & Lingonberry Semla

This is almost a classic combo all over Sweden. Add saffron to the dough and it goes super yellow. Add the usual marzipan filling, but also add some lingonberries to the whipped cream. The tartness is wonderful against the sweet saffron flavour and marzipan.

4. Kanelbullesemla

We haven’t seen these before, but we’re pretty certain we’re not the first to make these! Delicious, totally over the top, too. A cinnamon bun, split in two, filled with marzipan and whipped cream. D-licious.

5. Pepperkakor Semlor

We added ginger biscuit spice to the dough (very nice), spice to the marzipan filling too – and vanilla cream and topped with a few Pepperkakor ginger thins. Not bad at all.

6. Lamington Semla.

If you’re going to be Aussie about it, it has to be Lamington. We covered the bun in chocolate, we rolled it in coconut. We added a bit of jam under the marzipan filling and filled it with cream. We saw one like this on the internet a while back but we can’t find it so we can’t tell you who did it first.

7. Mozart Semla

A Mozart Treat in Sweden is marzipan with pistachio, nougat and chocolate. Oh lord, this one is delicious: We added chocolate to the whipped cream. We added nougat above the marzipan. We added chopped, toasted pistachios. Mozart would have liked this.

8. Cloudberry Semla

Actually, this is for the Norwegians. In Norway, people love mixing cloudberries with whipped cream – it is called Multekrem. So, this is what we did: This baby is stuffed with marzipan and Multekrem. Oh yes, it’s good. Thumbs up from here.

9. Semla Wrap

We didn’t come up with this one. A bakery called Tossebageriet did, a few years back. It is a semla dough, but made as a wrap – and the marzipan and cream is inside. Not bad, although it is a faff making loads of the round wraps. Looks very different, though, which is great.

10. Profiterole Semla

We changed the dough to a choux dough – and added ground cardamom. We them opened it up and filled it with marzipan and whipped cream and topped with a dark chocolate icing. Bronte ate this and wanted more. It’s a yes from us. Profiterole Semlor for the win.

11. Princess Semla

This was the craze of 2017. It was everywhere. We made hundreds of these at the café. They are amazing – but it IS a lot of marzipan. Marzipan inside, marzipan outside. Cream and a little rose. The cutest semla of them all.

12. Nutella Semla

We added chocolate pieces and cocoa to the bun. We added chocolate to the marzipan and then added nutella on top of that. Then we melted nutella and whipped it into the cream. Did we mention that there is a lot of chocolate in this one? Choc choc choc semla.

13. Salted Caramel Semla

Seriously, we are aware the photo is a bit rubbish. We were trying to make sure there was enough salted caramel in this one. There is, we can testify to this. Salted caramel inside, outside and in the cream. We love salted caramel. It works.

14. Nacho Semla

This is the craze of 2018 in Sweden. We were not convinced, to be honest. Who wants Semlor chips? Actually, we made this and it’s pretty good. You can sit and eat a semla on the bus like this. In the cinema. In the office. It’s a snack-semla and we quite like it. Yeah, it’s a faff to make the chips (roll out, bake until almost done, use a pizza cutter to make the chips, back in the oven to dry a bit). But not bad at all.

15. The original.

We love this one. The one we hold close to our hearts: Big bun, lots of marzipan, cream and a dusting of icing sugar. Who could ask for more?

Don’t forget to send us your ideas. Maybe you have ideas for a hybrid of a British cake with a semla? Hot Cross Semla, maybe… or Bakewell Tart Semla. Sticky toffee Pudding semla? We look forward to hearing from you.

Norwegian Fastelavnsboller – Berry Cream Buns

February 1, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

Norwegian Berry Cream Buns – Fastelavnsboller

Fastelavnsboller is the Norwegian version of Semlor – using jam in place of the marzipan filling which is more commonly seen in Sweden. The term semlor is often used to describe Scandinavian cream buns – but this is not completely accurate. Semlor is the word most commonly used in Sweden and parts of Finland, and usually refers to a sweet yeasted bun filled with marzipan and cream. In the other Nordic countries, they have different buns. So marzipan haters, rejoice! This one is for you. Every bit as indulgent, and even easier to make. The same bun, with a lovely lightly sweetened whipped cream with a touch of vanilla and your favourite Nordic berry jam.

Bun dough:

  • 13 g dried yeast or 25 g fresh yeast *(see below)
  • 250 ml whole milk, heated to 36–37°C (97–98°F)
  • 80 g butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 40 g caster sugar
  • 300–400 g white strong flour
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Filling:

  • 100ml of our favourite jam – raspberry is most traditional but strawberry or blueberry are also popular (and delicious!)

Whipped cream:

  • 300ml whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla sugar or extract (optional)

Method (makes 12)
*If using fresh yeast, add it to the finger-warm milk and mix until dissolved. Then pour it into the bowl of a food mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.
If using dried yeast, sprinkle the yeast granules into the finger-warm milk and whisk together. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes to activate and become frothy and bubbly. Pour into the bowl of a food mixer with a dough hook and stir in the melted butter. Add the sugar and stir again. Add half of the flour as well as the salt, baking powder and ground cardamom. Add half the beaten egg (reserve the other half for brushing before baking).

Mix well until all the ingredients are incorporated and then start to add more of the flour, bit by bit, until you have a dough that is only a little bit sticky. Take care not to add too much flour. Knead the dough for at least 5 minutes in the mixer. Cover the bowl with a dish towel or cling film and leave to rise in a warm (not hot) place until it has doubled in size – about 30–40 minutes.

Turn the dough out to a floured surface. Knead again for a few minutes, adding more flour if needed. You want a firmer but not dry dough. Cut the dough into 12 equal-sized pieces. Place, evenly spaced, on a baking sheet. Leave to rise for 25–30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6.

Brush each bun with the beaten egg and bake for 8–10 minutes or until baked through – keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly. Remove from oven and cover the buns with a lightly damp dish towel immediately – this will prevent them from forming a crust.
When they have cooled completely, cut a ‘lid’ off the buns – about 1.5 cm/1⁄2 in. from the top. Add about 2 tsp jam on the bottom half (or to taste).

Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla (if using) until stiff, then use a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle to pipe cream on all the buns (a spoon will do too). Put the ‘lids’ back on and dust lightly with icing sugar before serving.

Psst – eat the lid first to avoid the cream filling going everywhere as you bite into it.

 

This is how happy these buns will make you.

Recipe: Semlor Lenten buns

January 22, 2015 | 7 Comments

Ohhh, those delicious buns of delight and loveliness. It’s the season and we have a great recipe.

Lent buns (Semla for singular, Semlor for plural) are buns eaten leading up to and during Lent in Scandinavia. In Sweden the are most popular and bakeries start selling these already in January. Fat Tuesday – Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras – is the day when we eat at least one and maybe more of these buns. We basically fatten up before Lent.

You will never ever find Semlor buns sold outside the season – it is just not done. So, take advantage of the season now that runs until Easter and have a go at making these seriously rich buns at home.

Let us tell you that the little dollop of custard or creme patisserie makes all the difference. Thats just our little trick and hint for an extra delicious bun.

Enjoy.

Love, The Kitchen People

 

Recipe: Semlor Lenten buns
Recipe Type: Baking
Cuisine: Swedish
Author: Bronte Aurell
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
A delicious bun eaten for Lent.
Ingredients
  • 25g fresh yeast (or 12g active dry yeast)
  • 80g melted butter
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 40g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • Approximately 300-400g plain bread flour
  • ½ egg for brushing
  • Filling:
  • 100g Marzipan
  • A good dollop of custard or crème pâtisserie
  • 500ml whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
  • Icing sugar to dust
Instructions
  1. If using mixer, set it up with the dough hook attachment. Melt the butter and add the milk, ensuring a lukewarm temperature of around 37-38ºC. Add the fresh yeast and stir until dissolved.
  2. Add sugar and stir again. Add half of the flour as well as the salt, baking powder and ground cardamom. Add the ½ egg (preserve the other half for brushing before baking).
  3. Mix well until all ingredients are incorporated and then start to add more of the flour, bit by bit, until you have a dough that is only a little bit sticky. Take care not to add too much flour: you will get dry buns. Knead the dough for at least five minutes in the mixer, longer by hand. Leave to rise in a warm (not hot) place until doubled in size (30-40 min).
  4. Turn the dough out to a floured surface. Knead again for a few minutes, adding more flour if needed. Cut the dough into 12 equal sized pieces. Take care that the balls are completely round and uniform in size. Place on baking tray with good spacing between buns. Leave to rise for another 25-30 minutes.
  5. Gently brush each bun with the remainder of the egg wash and bake in a hot oven (200ºC) for about 8-10 minutes or until baked through – keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly. Remove from oven and cover the tray with a lightly damp tea towel immediately – this will prevent the buns from forming a crust.
  6. When the buns have cooled down completely, cut a ‘lid’ off the buns – about 1½ cm from the top. Scoop out about 1/3 of the inside of the bun and place crumbs in a separate bowl.
  7. Mix the almond paste with the crumb until it forms a very sticky mass –add a dash of milk, custard or crème pâtisserie at this point to help it along. You want a spoonable, even mixture. Spoon the filling back into the buns, equally divided. Whip the cream with the vanilla sugar until stiff and use a piping bag to pipe cream on all the buns’ tops. Put the ‘lids’ back on and dust with icing sugar.

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