An Eastern Semla

A slightly different Shrove Tuesday bun (fastlagsbulle) from the Finnish store in Hötorgshallen market. 

  • If you have your roots in Finland and live in Stockholm, it is the Finnish store in Hötorgshallen you guide your steps to when the longing for authentic Finnish food becomes overwhelming. Just like Swedes who move to the United States periodically seek out specialties at a Scandinavian store or go for the meatballs, sauce and lingonberry jam at the nearest IKEA.
    Finska Butiken, the Finnish store, is run by mother Marjatta Stobin and her four daughters Anniina, Elisa, Rosanna and Sonja. Customers flock to the store from the entire greater Stockholm area.

  • Kitchen visit in Hötorgshallen
    Today Elisa Stobin is in the kitchen downstairs of the shop. She fills Finnish buns with cream and raspberry jam. A Finnish bun is a bit different from its traditional Swedish relative, the semla. The bun itself consists of dough baked on spelt flour and whole grain rye flour. The dough is seasoned with cardamom and therefore tastes just as good as a Swedish bun, but it is not as sweet.

  • In Sweden, it works to call the Shrove Tuesday bun a Finnish semla, but hardly so in Finland. In Finland, a semla is the same as "småfranska," a round baguette-like bread roll. If you’re looking for a Swedish semla, order a "Fastlagsbulle," otherwise you might get a sandwich instead.
    "Our Shrove buns are baked daily by the rye bread bakery Green Rabbit and delivered to us every day during the Lenten period," says Elisa.
    Rye bread bakery Green Rabbit was founded by renowned chef Mathias Dahlgren and pastry champion Martin Berg. They describe the idea behind the bakery as good, green, fast, cool and smart.
    "Here at Finska Butiken we simply fill the buns with genuine Finnish raspberry jam and freshly whipped cream," continues Elisa. We expect to sell about 50 per day from now until Easter.

  • Green Rabbit’s recipe is clearly a secret, but here’s my take on the slightly less sweet bun for this year’s Shrove Tuesday:

  • Finnish Fastlagsbulle
    (makes 12 buns)

  • 2/3 stick butter (75g)
    6 tbsp (2dl, a little less than a cup) whole milk
    1 ounce of yeast (25g)
    3-1/2 tbsp sugar (1/2 dl)
    1 tsp salt (1 krm)
    1/2 tsp crushed cardamom
    1 egg
    2-1/2 cups spelt flour (6dl)
    1/2 cup flour (1dl)
    1/2 cup whole rye flour (1dl)
    2 tsp baking powder (2 tsk)
    1 egg

  • Filling:
    1-1/2 cup raspberry jam (3-1/2dl or approximately 2 tbsp per bun)
    For the cover: confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar)

  • You’ll also need: baking paper

  • Instructions:
    -Melt the butter, add the milk and heat until luke warm (98˚F). Crumble the yeast in a bowl, pour the milk over and stir until yeast is dissolved. Add the egg to the mixture.
    -Mix spelt flour and rye flour with sugar, salt and cardamom. Stir down flour mix into the liquid dough a little at a time. Knead the dough until it has a smooth, soft consistency. Let rise for 30 minutes.
    -Heat the oven to 450˚F (225˚C). Place baking paper on a baking sheet.
    -Mix the remaining flour with baking powder and work it into the dough.
    -Move the dough onto a work surface sprinkled with flour, divide it in half and cut each half into six pieces. Make 12 round buns and allow rise for about 20 minutes on the baking sheet.
    -Whip the egg and brush the buns before baking in the center of oven for 10 minutes. Allow the buns to cool on a rack under a tea towel.

  • Serving: Cut off the top of each bun, scoop out some of the center of buns, fill the buns with raspberry jam. Whip the cream and pipe it on top of the raspberry jam. Replace the top and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.

  • The original recipe in Swedish:

  • Finska semlor, 12 st
    75 g smör
    2 dl mjölk
    ½ pkt jäst, 25 g
    ½ dl strösocker
    1 krm salt
    ½ tsk stötta kardemummakärnor
    1 ägg
    6 dl siktat dinkelmjöl
    1 dl vetemjöl
    1 dl rågmjöl
    2 tsk bakpulver
    1 ägg

  • Fyllning:
    3 ½ dl hallonsylt (ca 2 msk per semla)

  • Till locket:

  • Du behöver också:

  • Smält smöret, tillsätt mjölken och värm till 37°C. Smula jästen i en bunke. Häll över mjölken och rör om tills jästen löst sig. Knäck ägget i degspadet.
    Blanda samman 6 dl dinkelmjöl och 1 dl rågmjöl med socker, salt och kardmumma. Rör ner mjölblandningen i degen, lite i taget. Arbeta samman till en homogen, tjock smet eller en lös deg.
    Låt den jäsa ca 30 minuter och värm under tiden ugnen till 225°C. Klä en plåt med bakplåtspapper.
    Blanda ut bakpulvret i den resterande decilitern mjöl, och arbeta in det i degen.
    Ta upp degen på mjölat bakbord och dela degen på mitten. Skär varje del i 6 delar och rulla 12 runda bullar. Lägg dem att jäsa ca 20 minuter på plåten.
    Vispa upp ägget i en kopp och pensla bullarna. Grädda i mitten av ugnen ca 10 minuter. Ta ut och låt bullarna kallna på galler under bakduk.
    Servering: Skär av ett lock på varje bulle. Fyll bullarna med sylt. Vispa grädden och spritsa den ovanpå sylten. Lägg tillbaka locken och pudra över florsocker.