WoW!!! Semlor

These buns MUST be eaten to have a real taste of Sweden! We start eating semlorannandag jul”, forget your diet! Man är sugen på att äta dem! And then we eat them every Tuesday. One Tuesday is particularly special and is called Fettisdagen, the day before fasting (40 days before Easter). Just this day we eat 5 million semlor! Mmmm… Cholesterol… is tasty=)

Semla is a bun that is made from flour, milk, butter, sugar and cardamom. The cap that can be round or triangle is cut off, and almond crème is placed inside the bun. And that is not enough! On the top of almond crème you should put whipped cream, put the cap on the top, and then spread flour sugar all over! In famous Gustav Vasa’s Bible from 1541 one can find first written evidence for semlor ”bakade semlokakor blandade med olio”.

Word semla itself is interesting. It comes from latin ”simila” that means ”vetemjöl” and from ”semlja” that means “jord, klot”. Even more “semi” means “halv” in latin. Combinig all together we get semla aka “round thing from flour that is made from two halves”.

According to tradition from 1700 you should eat “hetvägg”. Hetvägg is a semla that is placed in the deep plate filled with hot milk. You can add some cinnamon to the milk as well. Why not?! Hetvägg is coming from Low German “hetweck” that means “hot keel” (heta kilar), apparently because semla was formed as a triangle. You can fit more triangle-formed buns in a plate and eat more! That is so obvious!

Speaking about eating! King Adolf Fredrik, father to Gustav III died 12 february 1771 after he overate hetvägg. It was even documented that “Hans Majestäts dödsfall har skett av indigestion av hetvägg, surkål, rofvor, hummer, kaviar, böckling och champagnevin”. It is obviously the last eaten, 14th semla killed him =)!

Disclaimer! “Never combine all listed above ingredients! Dangerous for health!”


If you are a real fan of traditions, you can even follow this recipe from Susanna Egerlin written 1737, though this semla is without almond crème. Almond crème was added to recipe around 1800.

”Tag semlor så många tu wilt, skär ofwan på ett litet hål, gräf alt innanmätet uhr dem och koka uti söt grädde, sedan tag skorpan af, och stek wäl brunt på alla kanter uti smör och lägg uti en panna, der til fint hwetemiöl en  hand full eller twå, som brännes wäl brunt i smöret, der til en hand full blårussin, och en hand full corinter, detta kokas wäl tilhopa med socker och canel, at det blifver lagom sött. När soppan är kokad, så tag innanmätet som med söt grädde är blandat och fyll uti semlorna, och strö socker och canel öfwer, så är det färdigt.”

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