Jessica tells us: In Sweden we have a proverb, Kärt barn har många namn, which means that we have many names for the things we love!

This is the case with the Mardi Gras (fat Tuesday) bun or in Swedish Fastlagsbulle, Fettisdagsbulle or simply just Semla (in plural Semlor).
These usually appear in the supermarkets and bakeries after the new year, with a crescendo early in March. Mardi Gras is the Tuesday that falls between Shrove Monday and Ash Wednesday.
Some Swedes like to eat their Semla with hot milk; then it is called Hetvägg!


Put the oven on at 200° C


2 tsp ground cardamom (Kardemumma)

300 ml milk

50g fresh yeast

50ml sugar

½ tsp salt
150g soft butter

1 egg, beaten
1100 -1200 ml flour


1. Melt the butter, add the milk and heat to 37° Celsius.
2. Crumble the yeast into a bowl and let it dissolve with the milk mixture adding the sugar, cardamom, salt and egg.
3. Add the flour (a little at a time) and work into a smooth dough. Let it rise to double the size under a towel for about 40-50 minutes.

  1. When ready – turn out the dough on a floured table. Divide the dough into 18 pieces and roll them into round balls. (I prefer small ones so approx. 30).
  2. Place them on baking paper on a baking tray and leave to rise under a kitchen towel for another 45-60 minutes.
  3. When they have risen, brush with the beaten egg and bake in the oven for 6-7 minutes.


250 g almonds, blanched

A touch of ground cardamom
Confectioner’s/icing sugar to taste
1. Blanch and peel the almonds, if not already blanched and peeled.

  1. Crush the almonds to a fine powder in a blender.
  2. Add sugar and cardamom and mix until it becomes a smooth paste. You can add a bit of cream to make it smoother.Once the buns have cooled. Cut out a triangular “hat” from each, and fill the hole with some of your home-made almond paste. Add some sweetened whipped cream on top of the filling, replace the “hat”, dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve.

For more about Jessica Dölling-Gripberg’s Swedish recipes and traditions, events and activities, visit her website  




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