Saturday, July 8, 2017

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Caramelized Pecans

Vegan baking can be a bit challenging, no question about it. But with some tweaks here and there, and playing around with ingredients, nothing is too difficult.
Although vegan baking seems like a novelty, in reality, it's not. A while ago, I posted a traditional vegan recipe that I grew with and I know there are many more out there.

Most vegan recipes are an adaptation from regular ones laden with the usual suspects of non-vegan ingredients! The chocolate cake recipe I´m sharing today is adapted from a book my brother gave me a couple of years ago called "The Cake Decorator´s Bible". I tweaked the recipe a bit by adding caramelized pecans  and rum. I figured that the combination would be successful. I mean after all, it's chocolate and nuts, you can never go wrong with that!

The end result was pretty amazing. The cake was very moist and fluffy with a deep chocolate flavor and a satisfying butteriness coming from the pecans. You won´t miss the eggs and butter at all. 

To make this cake you need (23 cm loaf pan):
  • 200 g pastry flour
  • 35 cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2  tsp baking soda
  • 100 g white sugar and 50 g brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp dark rum
  • 100 g caramelized pecans, processed into powder
  • 80 ml vegetable oil (I used sunflower)
  • 230 ml water

In a bowl combine  flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground pecans. Whisk to combine, then add the oil, water and rum. Whisk until no flour lumps are visible.

Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and bake for 40 to 50 min in a preheated oven (160 C) or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Leave the cake to cool for five minutes in the pan. Remove and let it cool completely on a wire rack. 

You can serve the cake as it is, or with chocolate syrup, and if you want an extra luscious touch you can prepare, like I did, an easy vegan chocolate cream frosting.

For the frosting you need:
  • 100 g vegan butter or margarine
  • 10 g cocoa powder
  • 50 grams ground caramelized pecans (optional)
  • 30 g powdered sugar; you can add more if you like it sweeter. 

Combine all the ingredients and whisk until fluffy. Add on the top of the cake and garnish to your liking.

I hope you give this vegan recipe a try and I would love it if you shared your ideas for vegan baking.

Bon appetit!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Blueberry, Lemon and Coconut Cake

Five years have passed by since I started blogging. This blog has certainly kept me busy and distracted from all of life's stresses and hard times. Whenever I need an escape to a more peaceful and calmer world, I run to my little kitchen and start mixing, kneading, shaping and decorating. Time flies when you are doing something you love and you just enjoy every single moment!

To celebrate the blog's fifth year anniversary and all the beautiful moments it helped me to live, I decided to make a simple, easy, yet delicious cake with vibrant, fresh and summery flavors.

I´m not revealing any secret when I say that I´m obsessed with berries, all kind of summer berries, and I just love to eat them fresh or use them in my baked recipes. Blueberries were my choice for this cake and I married their flavor with that of lemons and coconuts. Trust me when I tell you, the result was amazing! Give this cake a try and you won't be sorry!

Now for the sponge you need for five 15 cm in diameter pans:
  • 5 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 150 g sugar
  • 150 g cake flour
  • dash of salt
  • 60 g melted butter
  • Zest of 2 big lemons
  • 1 tsp of kirsh (optional)
  • 50 g shredded coconut

Combine sugar, eggs, lemon zest, kirsh and salt and start whisking at low speed and then start increasing until you get to the highest one; beat for at least 5 minutes. The mixture should triple in volume, become very pale in color and with a cloud-like texture.

Add the flour and the coconut. Mix gently with a spatula until everything is incorporated. Finally, add the butter and mix slowly.

Pour the batter in the greased and lined pans.
If you don´t have 5 pans of the same size, pour the batter into 2 pans and then once baked slice your cakes. Be careful that the baking time will vary as you change the size of the pans.

Bake the cake in a preheated oven (160 C) for about 18-20 minutes. Leave the cakes to cool for 5 minutes in the pan then unmold and transfer them to a cooling rack.

For the blueberry sauce:
  • 250 g fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 125 g sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • half vanilla pod
Combine everything and cook the berries for about 15 min, on a very gentle heat. If the sauce is too runny, just scoop out some of the liquid, but reserve to serve with the cake.

For the frosting:
  • 150 g soft butter
  • 50 g cream cheese or mascarpone
  • 100 to 150 powder sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
Combine butter, cheese and sugar and beat until  fluffy and pale, add the lemon juice and beat for few seconds.

To assemble:

Place a bit of the frosting on the cake board and then place the first layer. Pipe some of the frosting on the cake and spread with a spatula to cover the whole layer then pipe a small circle round the edge.In the middle of the cake layer add a tbsp or 2 of the blueberry sauce and then top with another layer. Repeat until you have covered all the layers,

Add some frosting on the top and edges, smooth with a scraper then decorate as you wish. I covered the top with fresh plump blueberries and multi-colored pansies and added some petals and flowers on the sides too.

Do make this cake and enjoy its light and summery flavors.

From now and until the sixth year blog anniversary keep on baking!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Roasted Rhubarb Sorbet

I guess it's a sign of the changes to come, but summers are starting earlier and winters are becoming milder. Climate change debate aside, it has been warmer than usual for the past month here in Madrid.

When it becomes hot, I like to hide indoors whenever possible and indulge in all sorts of cooling foods and drinks. Beer, smoothies, salads, cold soups, ice cream, popsicles, and sorbet are all my go to food and drinks to keep me refreshed.

The star ingredient of this post is not something you find easily here in Spain. You have to fish for it in specialty grocery stores.  This year I was lucky to find a shop not too far from my place that sells rhubarb and I try as much as possible to buy these lovely burgundy stalks.

I bought quite a lot of rhubarb recently with the hope of using them in at least three recipes: jam, galette and a deliciously refreshing sorbet.

The sorbet comes in time to help me ward off the heat. What's more, it takes just a few ingredients to get a light dessert that is gluten and dairy free!

Ready to make some rhubarb sorbet? Let's go. You need:
  • 250 g of rhubarb, cut into 2 cm long pieces
  • half a vanilla pod 
  • a strip of orange peel
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar 
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
Combine all the ingredients in a pan and roast the rhubarb until soft and juicy in a preheated oven (180). It will take about 20 minutes, give or take.
Set aside to cool

While the rhubarb is cooling prepare the syrup
  • 150 g water
  • 125 gr sugar
  • squeeze of half lime
  • tbsp of kirsh, vodka or rum (optional, for a softer sorbet)
In a sauce pan combine all the ingredients, and on a gentle heat cook the syrup until it thickens a bit or until it reaches 105C.

Combine the rhubarb and the syrup and process until you get a silky smooth purée.

If you have an ice cream maker, just follow the manufacturer's instructions to make the sorbet. If not you have 2 main options:

  1. Pour the rhubarb purée in a shallow dish and put in the freezer. With a fork, scrap the mixture every hour or so to prevent crystallization.  
  2. Let the rhubarb purée freeze. Once frozen, transfer the mixture into a blender and blitz until smooth.

Now just scoop and enjoy as it is or use it to make a refreshing rhubarb mimosa to enjoy with friends or by yourself!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Caramelized Pecans

Almonds, cashews, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts were always part of my diet while growing up, in both sweet and savory dishes. Pecans on the other hand were a late discovery for me. Ever since my first pecan, I fell in love with their flavor and texture. Nowadays, I go to sleep feeling better knowing that I have a batch of pecans resting in my fridge or cupboard!

Pecans were not always easy to get by in Madrid. but lately, thanks to more specialty shops opening around every corner, stacking up on pecans is no longer a tricky affair.

Being rich in fats, all nuts pair well with sugar. In Spain, caramelized nuts are a popular treat. During local festivities you are always guaranteed to be swept away by the indulgent and enticing aroma of caramelized nuts being freshly prepared in market squares and fairs across the country.

Though caramelized nuts are more popular during winter times, there's no reason not to prepare them at home any time of the year. That's why I decided to make a batch of caramelized pecans to nibble on to ward off hunger pangs or to sprinkle on cakes and more for that buttery sweet crunch they deliver.

To make a small batch of caramelized pecans, you need:
  • 110 lightly toasted pecans (put them in a preheated oven at 100 C just until fragrant)
  • 75 brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 25 g coconut oil (for a vegan option) or butter
  • pinch of cinnamon (optional)
In a saucepan combine all the ingredients but the cinnamon. Over a gentle flame, slowly mix everything until the sugar melts and coats all the pecans, once everything is combined add the cinnamon and mix again.

Quickly drop the pecan on a parchment paper and with a spatula try to separate each pecan and set aside to cool.

Once cooled down, put in a glass jar and store in a cool and dry place.

Caramelized pecans are a wonderful treat. Perfect as a light snack on their own, they can also be crushed and sprinkled over plain yogurt, or added to cakes, pancakes and muffins for added flavor and texture.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Almond and Quark Cake

It´s been a while since my last post, and I thought it was the right time to share an easy cake recipe.
The Google+ community foodies+ is celebrating the month of cheese, that's why my recipe features this much beloved ingredient. I also recommend that you check this active community for wonderful recipes from across the globe. 

I had several recipes in mind, and it was really tempting to make another cheesecake, but I didn't succumb to the temptation! Instead, I went for a gluten free cake using almond meal instead of regular flour. The cheese element of the cake comes from the quark cheese, a type of soft creamy and tangy cheese made from soured milk.

The quark cheese went into the cake batter, which helped in making the cake rich and moist. Moreover, the cheese mixed with fresh fruits made the perfect topping for the cake.

For the cake you need; for 6 to 8 servings (20 cm round pan):
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 50 g soft butter
  • 130 g quark cheese
  • 170 g sugar
  • 175 g almond meal
  • 10 g corn flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • zest of half lemon or a 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp salt
First combine the dry ingredients (almond meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt and corn flour) and set aside.

In a bowl mix the butter, cheese and sugar. Once combined add the eggs one by one then add the vanilla and lemon zest. Whisk in the dry ingredients until combined. Pour the mixture into the greased and lined pan.

Bake in a preheated oven (150 C) for about 50 minutes. I opted for baking at a a gentle heat because I didn´t want for the cake to puff up and form a dome. You can bake it at 180 C and it will take less time, just keep an eye on it.

Leave the cake to cool.

For the frosting:
  • 100 g quark cheese
  • 100 g cream cheese
  • 50 g butter
  • 100 g powdered sugar
  • berry coulis (recipe follows)
  • 12 tsp vanilla extract
You need to bring the two cheeses and the butter to room temperature before mixing.

First mix the cheese and the butter, and once well combined add the sugar, vanilla and the desired amount of the coulis (I added 25 g).

For the coulis or sauce you need
  • 150 g of mixed berries
  • 20 g sugar
  • 12 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
In a pan mix the berries with the sugar and vanilla, simmer on a gentle heat, once the fruits are tender. Run through a food processor and then sieve. 

Pour half the frosting on top of the cake, right in the middle. Using  the back of a spoon or spatula, spread the frosting leaving a bit of distance from the edge. Decorate with fresh berries.

Serve the cake with extra frosting and coulis if you want.

Enjoy this sweet, tangy, moist, and tasty cake with a cup of coffee or tea.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sfouf, the Vegan Anise and Turmeric Semolina Cake

In a previous post I went over that special ingredient my mother always had/has on standby to use to whip a lot sorts of sweets including a childhood favorite, the crumbly yellow yumminess we call "Sfouf".  This turmeric or saffron colored/flavored cake is still on my list of favorite desserts that are also incredibly easy to make.

The cake has some other claims to fame! Beyond being easy to make and requiring very simple ingredients, it is a vegan, suitable for lactose intolerant people and those with egg allergies. Additionally, it can be easily made with polenta or gluten free flour for gluten intolerant people.

Back home, we used to make this recipe a lot during the lent season. Being a vegan recipe, it suited my parents well as they abstain from any meat or dairy for a period of 50 days. In addition to sfouf, we would look for other vegan recipes (like this rice pudding) that suited our cravings for sweets in the lent. As traditions mean a lot to me, I like to make sfouf during this season, especially in the last days of the lent.  It's a sweet reminder of days gone by!

It is worth mentioning that there is a non-vegan recipe of sfouf, but let's leave this for another post!

As you will see, the recipe is pretty simple. It is also quite flexible and you can adapt it to your own liking. I like my version to be more crumbly. That's why I use more semolina than flour. But if you want a more consistent cake invert the quantities mentioned below. Another thing you can modify easily is the quantity of sugar used; adjust to your liking.

The main flavors of the cake come from the use of two spices: anise and turmeric. Yet again, you can adjust the quantities to your liking, just be careful that turmeric in excess would give an unpleasant bitter aftertaste.  I used anise in two ways:  anise infused water and ground anise. My parting from the traditional cake I knew is my use of a small quantity of ground mahaleb cherry seeds. The use of mahaleb is totally optional, you can omit it or use instead some almond extract.

For an 18 cm round pan you need:
  • 150 g fine semolina
  • 100 g cake flour
  • 125 g sugar (you can use less if you want)
  • 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp ground anise
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground mahaleb cherry
  • 100 g oil (I used a mix of ;light olive oil and sunflower oil)
  • 200 g boiling water
  • 1 tsp anise
  • sesame seeds, walnuts, pine nuts for the topping
  • Tahini paste to coat the pan (if not available use oil)
First you need to infuse the anise seeds in the hot water and leave to cool.

In a bowl, combine semolina, flour, sugar, turmeric, ground anise, salt, baking powder  and mahaleb cherry and stir to mix the dry ingredients.

Add the oil and mix well. Add the anise water and whisk until well combined.

The batter will be rather liquid which will give you a moist cake. Pour the batter into the tahini covered pan.

Sprinkle the topping of your choice, I used three. Sesame is the traditional topping, but you can use cashews or pecans. Experiment and make the recipe your own.

Bake for 30 min at 180 C. Check after 25 min; insert a skewer in the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean then it´s done. 

Leave it to cool for about 10 to 20 min, remove it for the pan and wait until it cools completely.
Now all you need is to slice, sprinkle a bit of powdered sugar and enjoy with a cup of mint tea or coffee.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bailey's Cheesecake, an Exceptional Cheesecake!

I often take inspiration from sights, sounds and certainly flavors that surrounded me while growing up. This post is also a trip into memory lane again like the last postDuring Christmas, as far as I can remember, tradition called for the offering of any visitor wishing us a Merry Christmas various sweet items such as chocolate, cake, dragée, and a small shot of liquor. Out of all the available options, my parents opted for Bailey's Irish Cream, and I can understand why! Though I could smell how delicious it was, I was not allowed to consume it of course. Once old enough, Bailey's was my first alcoholic experience, and it was love at first sip! Even till today, Bailey's remains one of my favorite drinks. 

In addition to drinking spirits and liquors, in moderation of course, I like to incorporate them into my cakes as they add another flavor dimension. Given how tasty Bailey's Irish Cream is, it is only appropriate that I use it in one of my recipes. The best candidate that I could think of was a cheesecake based recipe. I knew the combination would just work and I used the boozy cream in the three layers of the cake. I can't begin to describe how delicious it was, I just recommend that you try it and taste for yourself;  your taste buds will thank you for it! 

For the brownie base you need:
  • 75 g semisweet chocolate
  • 65 g unsalted butter
  • 50 g white sugar and 25 g dark brown sugar
  • 30 g flour
  • 1 egg
  • 5 g cocoa powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp instant coffee
  • 1 tsp of Bailey's Irish Cream
Line an 18 cm pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray. 

Sift the flour and the cocoa powder and add the salt.

In a double boiler and over a gentle flame, melt the chocolate and butter. Add the instant coffee to the melted chocolate and butter mix and combine well until it dissolves. Coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate, but don't add too much as its powerful taste can mask all other flavors!

When the chocolate mixture has cooled, add the sugar followed by the egg, Bailey's and the vanilla. Mix until everything is combined well. Now add the sifted dry ingredients, and mix well.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 10 to 15 min in a preheated oven (180 C). 

Leave it to cool.

For the cheesecake mix:
  • 600 g cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature 
  • 120 g Greek yogurt ( you can use instead thick yogurt or sour cream)
  • 130 g sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour 
  • 4 to 5 tbsp of Bailey's Irish Cream
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tsp of instant coffee

In your mixer bowl, add the cheese and mix on a low speed with the paddle attachment for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the sugar,  yogurt, coffee and flour and mix again until well blended and no lumps are visible. 
Add the eggs one by one and keep mixing on a low speed. 

Finally add the salt, vanilla, Bailey's cream and mix for less than one minute. 

Pour the batter over the baked brownies and gently shake and tap to even the top. 

Bake in a preheated oven (150 to 160 C). 

Usually it's customary to wrap the spring-form pan with aluminum foil and place it in another pan filled with warm water and then bake for the required time that is usually for a pan of this size one hour to one hour and a half (oven-dependent).  This Bain-Marie method of cooking is needed to bake your cake at a gentler heat to avoid surface cracks.

What I do is different though. I put in the middle layer of the oven a pan and fill it with warm water then place the cheesecake pan over a cookie sheet and put both over the pan. This creates  a steamy environment in my oven and allows the cheesecake to cook all the way through while retaining a smooth creamy texture and most importantly with no surface cracks whatsoever.

After one hour, turn off your oven, shake the tray, make sure the middle is still a bit wiggly and leave the oven door cracked open for another half an hour to an hour. 

Let the cake cool completely before you put it in the fridge overnight. 

You can serve the cheesecake as it is, it´s amazingly delicious but a layer of a velvety chocolate ganache won´t do yo any harm, no? 
To make the ganache you need:
  • 100 g  dark chocolate
  • 100 g cream (35%)
  • 1 tbsp Bailey's cream
Chop the chocolate into small chunks, heat the cream to a gentle simmer, then add over the chocolate and mix until all the chunks have melted. Now all you need is to add the Bailey's, stir  and let the ganache cool down for few minutes before you pour over the cheesecake.

The cake will taste even better few days after it was baked. However, I'm sure it won't last much.  
Don't be too indulgent, invite a friend or two to share this special cheesecake with!


Monday, March 20, 2017

Semolina, Pistachio and Rose Water Cake

I grew up in a house where a jar or two of semolina were always laying around in the cupboard waiting to be used in some of our favorite recipes as kids.

My mother would always buy 2 kinds of semolina: fine and coarse. Each had a different use. Mom would use the fine one to make a vegan semolina and saffron or turmeric cake, while the coarse one was reserved to a sweet and syrupy semolina cake dotted with almonds. I will share both recipes with you the soonest.

Semolina is the star ingredient of the famous Easter cookies we make every year during the holiday. I'll be making a big batch soon and let me tell you that I can't wait to make these delicious crumbly cookies.

Taking inspiration in all of these recipes and some more, I made a cake that screams the Eastern Mediterranean to me with its delicate fresh and floral flavors. The cake is moist, packed with flavors and what's really neat is that it only takes a bowl and a hand whisk to make!

For the cake you need:
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 80 g soft butter
  • 50 g yogurt (plain, no added sugar or fruits)
  • 100 g sugar
  • 50 g pistachio paste
  • 50 g ground pistachio
  • 175 g semolina
  • 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 2 tbsp rose water
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 250 ml of simple syrup (recipe follows)
In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar, add the yogurt and mix well. Add the eggs one by one and mix until well combined. Incorporate the pistachio paste, ground pistachio, salt, semolina, baking powder and baking soda and whisk again.  Finally add the rose and orange water.

Pour the batter into a greased pan covered with parchment paper. I used a 16 cm round pan, and baked the cake in a preheated oven (175 C / 345 to 350 F) for about 40 to 45 min. Check after 35 min with a skewer, it should come out clean. If you use a bigger pan, reduce the baking time.

While you bake the cake prepare the syrup:
  • 130 g sugar
  • 130 g water
  • few drops of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp rose water and 1 tsp of orange blossom water
Combine sugar and water and simmer on a gentle heat. Once the sugar has dissolved and you start seeing bubbles on the surface, add the lemon, leave it for a couple of minutes then turn off the heat.
Add the rose and orange water and mix.

Once the cake is baked, leave it to cool for 5 minutes, remove it from the pan and then pour the syrup all over.

To serve, decorate the cake as you see fit. I have a big box of hairy floss so I decided to add some on the top to decorate my cake; it's also quite the delicious addition.

The cake pairs well with vanilla or mastiha ice cream, Greek yogurt, and honey. However, the cake is quite delicious on its own and does not necessarily need any additions.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Semlor, Indulgent Swedish Cream Buns

The best thing about traveling, at least for me, is how it exposes you to all the different culinary traditions the world has to offer. You can spend a lifetime of traveling and you will still come across a new ingredient, a new dish, and a new cooking method. For a sweet tooth, my visit to a new country would not be complete if I didn't sample a traditional sweet or two popular among locals.

Years ago, I went to Sweden and spent a few days strolling through the charming streets of Stokholm, its capital city. When I got tired or needed a break I would go into cute coffee shops and enjoy a warm cup of coffee and people watch! The Swedes  have a beautiful tradition called "Fika", and though I don't know uf  there's an exact word-to-word translation to it, it basically means to have coffee. This coffee-break, often had in the afternoon, gathers friends and families around coffee, tea and juice, served along cakes and pies. As it turned out, one fika per day was not enough for me. Actually two were not enough for my I-want-to-try-it-all attitude. Luckily, the Swedes had enough to keep me coming back for more.

As I went to Sweden in summer, I did not get to sample one of its most popular treats: Semlor. This sweet bread, served before the lent season, is quite popular in the country and can be found seasonally throughout the month of February. I had known about it from Swedish friends. Though I would have liked to try it in Sweden, the Arctic Northern European winters of this land are a bit too cold for a Mediterranean girl like me!

My solution for this dilemma was to make my own semlor. I tried several recipes and was not satisfied with the results. The dough just got too dry in less than 24 hours. In my recent attempts, I adjusted the dough recipe and was rewarded with delectable semlor that will stay perfect for at least 48 hours!

For the dough you need: (makes 6 buns)
  • 250 g bread flour
  • 1 egg (the one I used weighed 65 g)
  • 90 ml of warm milk (28C)
  • 8 g fresh yeast
  • 40 g sugar
  • 3 g salt
  • 60 g soft butter
  • 1/2 tsp groung cardamon (I used a bit more as I love the cardamom aroma)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla paste
First start by making  a pre-ferment. Mix the milk with the yeast until it dissolves, then add 90 g of the flour, mix well then  add the rest of the flour over the mixture. Cover and let it rest for 30 minutes. Once it rests, the flour on top of the mixture will rise and crack a bit pushed by the dough beneath.

Now add the rest of the ingredients except the butter and start mixing. A first mix with a wooden spoon then flip the dough over a clean working surface and knead for few minutes.  You can use your mixer of course, but I like doing that by hands.

After few minutes add the butter and keep kneading, the dough will be very sticky and all over the counter, don´t worry after minutes of mixing the dough will come together and won´t stick at all. It took about 25 min to reach that point. With a mixer, using the hook accessory, it will take you about 15 minutes.

Transfer the dough into a clean and greased bowl, cover and let it proof between an hour or 2 or until it doubles in volume. After that, tuck the edges to the middle of the dough, cover it again and leave it in the fridge over night.

In the morning, take about 75 g of the dough, flat it down a bit, tuck the edges into the middle of the dough then roll it into a nicely shaped ball.

Place all the buns on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and let them rise again for about 2 hours or until they double in volume.

Heat your oven to 200 C, prepare an egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tbsp milk and 1/4 tsp vanilla extract) and gently brush the buns. I brushed the buns twice then bake them for about 10 to 12 min or until golden brown.

For the almond paste you need:

  • 100 g almond flour
  • 20 g whole almonds (peeled)
  • simple syrup infused with cardmamom (100 g sugar, 100 g water and 5 cardamom pods)
First start by toasting the whole almonds in a hot oven (100 C) for few minutes, then add the almond flour. By heating the almonds you will intensify the flavor and once you smell the almonds you know they are ready.

Mix the almond flour with enough syrup to make a paste, (if it´s too thick you can add some milk once you´re about to fill the buns). Crush the whole almonds and add them to the paste. You can skip the step, but I like the crunchy texture. 

For the whipped cream:
  • 200 ml 35% cream
  • 25 g sugar
  • the seeds of one vanilla pod (or extract or paste)
Start with a cold cream and whisk; it helps the cream to whip quickly and to get a strong texture. Add the sugar and vanilla to the cream and whip until stiff peaks are formed. Pay attention to the cream all the time, if you whip too much you will get butter!

Once then buns are cold, snip off the top, fill with almond paste, then swirl the whipped cream, put back the top as a lid, sprinkle some powdered sugar and enjoy a delicious and amazing treat from the beautiful Sweden.

You can enjoy semlor with warm vanilla or cinnamon infused milk. The Swedes call this way of enjoying semlor "Hetvägg", which means "hot wall". I don´t know why they call it as such, but it´s really delicious and comforting.

Now rush to your kitchens and make some semlor before February ends and the lent season starts!