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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fat Tuesday in Sweden

Fika is the Swedish word for coffee break.  If you were playing a word association game, you're forgiven if Sweden wasn't the first thought you connected with coffee. But strong coffee and sweet pastries, especially cinnamon rolls, eaten with friends, are an important part of Swedish culture. Afternoon chats with friends at cafes are especially enjoyed during the long dark winter months. 

Semlor, photo courtesy of 

On Shove Tuesday also known as Fat Tuesday or simply the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, cinnamon rolls are replaced with Semlor or Semla.  These pastries are unique to the Nordics.   As you might expect from the name, they were originally made from semolina  wheat.  The buns are made from wheat and Cardamon. Cardamon is a spice that I love, unfortunately it isn't all  that common in the US, but it's very popular in Norway, Sweden, and the Arabia peninsula.  In Scandinavia it is often used in cakes and breads, in the Middle East it's also added to coffee.  

Semlor is a cardamon-spiced bun which the top has been cut off and the insides scooped out, it's then filled wit a mix of the scooped out bread crumbs, almond paste or raspberry jam and topped with whipped cream or powered sugar.  Look for the recipe on 

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