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Semlor (Vastlakukkel) for 2

This recipe is based on an Estonian recipe and sized down for 2 - 3 people as it makes 8 semlor. If you wish to make more, be sure to double the ingredients! The buns taste best when using freshly ground cardamom.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Proofing Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 25 mins
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Estonian, Scandinavian
Servings 8 buns


Semlor Dough

  • 120 grams warm milk
  • 12.5 grams fresh yeast
  • 25 grams granulated sugar
  • 200 grams all-purpose flour divided
  • 50 grams melted butter
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom if using fresh, use 10 cardamom pods
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg divided; half for the dough, half for the glazing


  • 250 ml whipped cream
  • (sour) jam, almond paste, nuts...


  • Warm the milk to 32 - 38°C. In the meantime, mix the fresh yeast with sugar until the yeast "liquifies" with the sugar. Add the yeast and sugar mixture to the warm milk and then also add 100 grams of flour. Mix thoroughly and let it prove in a warm place under a towel until small bubbles appear (about 30 minutes).
  • Add cooled melted butter, cardamom, salt, half of the egg and the rest of the flour (100 grams). Knead the dough until it comes together and does not stick to the bowl nor your hands that much. The dough will be still quite soft and supple, so be careful not to add too much extra flour. We want them nice and soft.
    Semlor Dough
  • Prove the dough under the towel in a warm place again, this time until doubled, for about 40 minutes to 1 hour (for me it took 1 hour in winter).
    Doubled Dough
  • After the second proof, take 50 grams of dough at a time and shape into little balls*. Place the dough balls onto a baking sheet covered with either parchment paper or reusable baking mat. Let them proof for the third time, this time about 15 - 30 minutes under a towel.
    Semlor balls
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan). Use the other half of the egg to glaze the dough balls on top and bake until nicely golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  • Cool the buns under a damp towel, so they wouldn't form a hard crust. After the buns have cooled, cut off the top and carve out the inside (see picture).
  • Fill them with your desired filling. To make almond filling, mix almond paste with the insides of the semlor and add some whipped cream until you reach a nice consistency. My favourite (and controversial) filling is using both jam and almond filling and topping it off with sweetened whipped cream. I like my semlor filled mostly with sour jam, such as blackcurrant or lingonberry jam as the buns, almond paste and whipped cream are both very sweet.
    Mari Bakes Semlor
  • Enjoy trying to eat them without getting your whole face full of whipped cream!
Keyword Semlor, Vastlakukkel, whipped cream