The semla (semlor in plural form, also called fastlagsbulle or fettisdagsbulle) is a traditional Swedish pastry. Consisting of a cardamom spiced wheat flour bun with the top cut off and the inside scooped out, an almond paste filling, whipped cream, and a dusting of powdered sugar, this treat has been delighting Swedes for centuries.
How to eat a semla
A bun soaked and eaten in warm milk, known as hetvägg, was the first incarnation of these marvelous creations. While lacking the fancier garnishes and filling of the modern semla, eating semlor submerged in warm milk is still popular today. You can also go the more common route of eating your semla with a nice hot cup of coffee or tea on the side.
Semlor were originally consumed on fettisdagen, or Fat Tuesday, as a celebration before the Christian fasting period of Lent. In modern Sweden, since strict adherence to Lent has waned, semlor make their appearance in bakeries from about January through Easter. However, Semla Day, or semmeldagen, is still celebrated on Fat Tuesday every year. Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden, died in 1771 after eating 14 servings of semlor. So while indulgence is encouraged on fettisdagen, it might be best to keep your semla intake to fewer than 10!