12 April 2014


This year, my Mum and Dad informed me, mini-semlas are in fashion in Sweden, though the traditionalists are still pretty strong. They sent me a recipe with a very lovely photo and I decided to try them out for Mother's Day.


The recipe promised the use of chocolate truffle rather than cream under the lids. The original recipe suggests three types of truffle - dark chocolate, milk chocolate and liquorice. The last one required a specific type of sweet that I'm not familiar with, so I decided to swap it for Viennese nougat. The recipe may seem a bit long-winded, but isn't really that difficult and I recommend that the parts are done separately and the mini-semlas only put together before serving. The buns should freeze quite well as would the filling, but not the truffles.

Makes about 40

75 g unsalted butter at room temperature
¾ granulated sugar
2 ½ dl milk
25 g fresh yeast
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
7 dl strong flour
2 tbsp water

250 g marzipan
3 tbsp whipping cream

50 g dark chocolate
1 tsp icing sugar (if the chocolate isn't sweet)
50 g white chocolate
50 g Viennese nougat
5 dl whipping cream


  1. Whisk together the butter and sugar light and fluffy, then set aside.
  2. Warm up the milk to 40 °C, transfer to a large bowl and stir in the yeast until it dissolves completely.
  3. Crack the egg in a glass and whisk it lightly, then add half of it to the milk and keep the rest for brushing the buns.
  4. Next, add the vanilla extract, a table spoon of the butter-sugar mixture and 5 dl of the flour. Work quickly together into a soft dough, cover and leave to rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.
  5. Turn out onto a work surface and add the remaining 2 dl flour and start kneading the dough. Add the butter-sugar mixture a table spoon at a time while kneading until all has been incorporated and the gluten has developed.
  6. Line three baking sheets with baking paper.
  7. Weigh the dough and work out how much each mini-bun should weigh, then cut up the dough and shape each piece to a round bun. Place on the lined baking sheets, cover and let proof for 30 minutes. They should just about double.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 200 °C (fan assisted). Stir in two table spoons of water to the remaining egg, then brush all the buns and bake for 12 - 15 minutes.
  9. Remove the ready buns to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

  10. Prepare the filling by grating the marzipan coarsely and stirring together with the cream (not whipped). Cover and keep refrigerated until needed.
  11. Weigh up the chocolates and nougat, chop each finely and place in separate bowls.

    Add icing sugar to the dark chocolate, if it isn't sweet.
  12. Heat up 1.5 dl of the whipping cream until it starts boiling. Then distribute it among the bowls - ½ dl for the nougat, a bit less than that for the white chocolate and the remainder for the dark chocolate.
  13. Stir together each to melt the chocolates and nougat and get three smooth ganaches, then cover and place in the fridge for at least 1 h to set.
  14. Whip the remaining cream to stiff peaks.
  15. Distribute among the ganaches and carefully fold in to form a truffle which is easy enough to pipe, but able to keep its shape.
  16. Prepare three piping bags with star nozzles and transfer the truffles to them.
  17. Cut lids off the buns and spread a thin layer of the marzipan filling on each bun,

    then pipe a swirl of one of the truffles and put the lid back on.

I suspect there were some mis-communications regarding this recipe, because the ganaches didn't work out very well and certainly didn't look like in the photo. I still ended up with a very runny white chocolate ganache, despite some attempts at adjusting on the fly. The Viennese nougat was most suitable for piping and tasted nicest too. The dark chocolate was very hard and went sort of grainy when I piped it and because I'd not added icing sugar to it, it tasted rather unpleasant. Still, the buns lasted about a week. I also think there was no need to make a marzipan filling by softening it with cream, a round thin slice of marzipan would work just as well and allows you to control how prominent the marzipan flavour should be. I spread the filling quite thinly and it was barely noticeable.

For sure, I need to practice making ganache and truffle...

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