I've rarely been so captivated by a recipe as I was when I first saw semla on Viola Minerva's instagram. Whether it was her breathtaking photography or her description of kids sledding downhills on Shrove Sunday, the coming inside to these buns, I'm not sure. But I made a batch immediately, which were a complete flop. I set aside my other plans for the day to try again at these airy, fragrant, cardamom-spiced buns. I took a special trip to the story for almonds and raspberry jam, and whipped cream. And a love that may have started from a photograph or a story progressed to a true love for a delicious, decadent, but still light and lovely recipe that fully encapsulates #thatwinterspringthing.
With my love for these little buns blooming, I was lucky enough to get Chef Mikko as a guest on the podcast. As a Finnish-born chef who first worked at a family restaurant in Stockholm Sweden, Chef Mikko was the perfect person to tell us all about the differences between Finnish and Swedish semla. Each year, he and his Swedish pastry chef hold a competition to see which sells more - the Finnish or Swedish versions. I'm absolutely thrilled that I can share his recipe for these lovely cardamom buns with you all today!
A few notes on the recipe:
This makes a HUGE batch - about 24 massive buns (measuring 110g) or up to 72 mini buns (about 34g each).
Chef Mikko gave me his ingredient list. I used a method that was a mixture of guessing and research that seemed to work well.
Chef Mikko says the most important thing is to allow ample time for the buns to rise. I emphatically agree. I never made the buns fresh. All 3 times I made them, the dough came from the fridge. The formed buns had barely risen after an entire hour. Several hours later, they had more than doubled in size and the resulting cooked buns were airy.