There is one thing I have very soon discovered about Swedish people: they like their food and they care about what they eat. A lot. This can be seen in many little details from the crowded salad bars in the supermarkets to hundred different types of food buffets for almost every hour of the day in local cafes (I really had no idea there are so many social occasion during the day when you can eat until I came to Sweden).
Home cooking counts into this category as well. I really enjoy every lunch break in our class when everyone gathers around, pull out little tupperware from their bags with thoughtfully pre-prepared lunch and starts a discussion on the topic : what is it that you’re eating today.
As eating out can get quite expensive in here, home dinner parties and cooking get-together are very common amongst students. We have a very nice tradition with my 3 girlfriends to have a ‘dinner date’ every two weeks when we get together, cook, bake, drink wine and chat about life for hours.
For our most recent dinner date, we decided to bake the typical dessert that Swedes eat in March: the Semla. If you live in Sweden, it is basically impossible not to notice the bun topped with cream sold in every cafe that everyone is going crazy about. But as the home made ones are supposed to be the best, my Swedish friend Malin got the magic recipe and invited us all around for some serious Semla making & tasting.
I’ve got to say, it is a serious procedure that requires at least 3 hours as the dough has to rise a lot. However, with a bit of patience, fun company and a good recipe, it is very doable and it tastes amazing.
Here comes the magic recipe, generously shared and translated by my Swedish flatmate (including Swedish names of some ingredients to make it easier to find them in local supermarkets:)
150 g butter
5 dl milk
1 package (50 g) of yeast,(SV: jäst)
half teaspoon of salt
1 dl of sugar or white syrup
1-2 teaspoon of cardamon (SV: kardemumma)
14 dl flour (SV: vetemjöl)
To begin with, melt milk and butter until it is ‘finger warm’ (she literally used this expression, in other words, 37 degrees). Then put yeast in and mix well. Follow by putting the rest of the ingredients in and mixing well in a big bowl. Cover the dough with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place for approximately 30 mins.
After rising, work the dough a bit with your hands. Then divide it in equal parts and form around 16 medium balls. Cover with tea towel and let them rise for 30 mins again.
After half an hour, put them in pre-heated oven and bake on 225 degrees. The length of the bake depends on the size of the buns so look after them.
200 g mandelmassa
1 dl milk
1 package of whipped cream
When your buns are ready, cut out a triangular shape at the top of each bun and fill the inside of the bun with cream. To get the cream, simply mix the mandelmassa with milk and a bit of the dough from inside of the baked buns (you will need to dig some out to make space for the cream inside the bun).
Finish by whipping the cream and putting in on top. Then cover the top of the cream again with the little triangles you cut out at the beginning.
Enjoy them with a glass of warm milk!
Puss och kram,