Semla Recipe with Pastry Cream


Post is also available in: Italian

Our trip today takes us to Sweden, for a nice coffee break to enjoy a Swedish Semla Recipe. That is a semi sweet sandwich, flavored with cardamom, stuffed with almond paste, cream and a small amount of custard. Their taste is really delicate, cardamom aromatizes the loaf but not in an excessive way and goes well with marzipan. The custard is not much, I chose to try and offer you a recipe that provided for it, but they can also be prepared without. The cream makes it fresh and helps to blend all the flavors. they are usually served with a sprinkling of icing sugar.

They are really beautiful and good desserts in their simplicity, remember the Italian Husbands. They can be accompanied by coffee and tea, even if in Sweden traditionally they are eaten mostly soaked in hot milk or completely immersed in the cup and eaten with a spoon. The semla recipe presents variations in neighboring states. For example, in Fillandia where they are called Laskiaispulla, they are served with raspberry jam instead of almond cream. In Denmark however, it is prepared with puff pastry, stuffed with cream, jam and then glazed.

swedish semla

The History of the Swedish Semla

The origin of this traditional Swedish dessert dates back to around 1541. Like many cakes with such an ancient past, it was a privilege for people of the upper class and of the monarchy. They were and still are considered a carnival dessert, even if today they are eaten all year round. In the past, however, they were eaten the day before the Lent, because it is a very rich dessert. The name semla derives from the German “semmel” which is a derivation of the Latin word “semilia” which means semolina term which was used for bread.

The most relevant curiosity about semlor (semla in the plural) is that in the year 1771 he was accused of murder by the Swedish population! The reason for this serious accusation was due to the death of the Swedish king Adolf Fredrik. After a very abundant dinner the king decided to “finish” the meal by eating 14 semla. Shortly thereafter he died of a stroke. Although it was proved, a slice of the population blamed the dessert and they tried to abolish Shrove Tuesday and also the production of the dessert itself.


Despite this unfortunate event, the Swedish sweet semla has survived becoming very popular across the country. It’s consumed all year round and not only during the Fika, the Swedish coffee break, but also at other times of the day.

But now let’s see how to prepare the Swedish Semla recipe step by step!

5 from 1 vote

Semla Recipe with Pastry Cream

"Soft and fragrant cardamom loaves with a delicious filling of marzipan cream, custard and whipped cream …"
Servings 6 Semla
Prep Time 50 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Leavened 1 hr 10 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins


Dough for Loaves

  • 150-200 g Bread Flour + another 55
  • 40 g Butter melted
  • 125 g Milk
  • 20 g Caster Sugar
  • ½ Egg slightly beaten
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder or baking powder
  • 12 g Fresh Yeast or 6 g dry yeast
  • 1 tsp Cardamom
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • ½ Egg slightly beaten


  • 255 g Milk
  • 3 Yolks
  • 65 g Caster Sugar
  • ½ tsp Custard Powder optional
  • 25 g Potato Starch


  • 60 g Marzipan
  • 1 tbs Milk
  • 250 ml Fresh Cream
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • to taste Icing Sugar



  • Melt the butter and add the milk to cool it (37 – 38 ° C). Add and dissolve the fresh yeast and sugar. You can knead with the planetary mixer or by hand but you will have to knead longer.
  • Add half the flour, salt, baking powder, ground cardamom and 1/2 beaten egg to the milk. Stir well until all the ingredients are well mixed.
  • Add the flour little by little, until you get a slightly sticky dough. Knead for at least 5 minutes in the mixer. If you like dough you will have to do it longer.
  • Leave to rise in a warm place for 30-40 minutes or until it is doubled in volume.
  • After the first leavening, pour the dough on a floured surface and knead it for a few minutes, if necessary add more flour. Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and create 6 balls with a uniform appearance, cover them and let rise for another 25-30 minutes.
  • Heat the oven to 200 °C.
  • Brush the loaves with the rest of the beaten egg and bake them for 8-10 minutes. Check them out because they brown quickly.
  • Once cooked, take them out of the oven and cover them with a damp kitchen towel, so that they remain soft on the surface.


  • Heat the milk. In another saucepan large enough to contain milk later, work all the other ingredients for the cream.
  • Pour the hot milk a little at a time into the eggs while continuing to stir. Put the saucepan on the heat and cook the cream while continuing to mix. As soon as it starts to make the first bubbles, turn off the heat. Stir again for a few seconds and leave to cool.

Semla Preparation

  • Cut the "lid" of the loaves, remove the crumb and set it aside.
  • Add the marzipan and the milk to the crumb, mix until a homogeneous mixture is obtained. Fill the bottom of the loaves evenly.
  • If you have also made the custard, divide it equally for each loaf. Whip the cream with the icing sugar and put it in a pastry bag with a star nozzle. Fill the loaves with cream, and put the pasta lids back on. Decorate with icing sugar. Keep them in the fridge.


* approximate calorie calculation
Chef: recipesjourney
Calories: 325kcal
Course: Sweets and Desserts
Cuisine: Swedish
Keyword: Breakfast, Carnival
Difficulty: Easy
Temperature: 200 °C/392 °F


Serving: 1semla | Calories: 325kcal (16%) | Carbohydrates: 37g (12%) | Protein: 8g (16%) | Fat: 16.5g (25%) | Sugar: 13g (14%)
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