Chai Semlor (Swedish Fat Tuesday Cream Buns)

Adapted from: Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break by Anna Brones & Johanna Kindvall

Yield: 12 buns

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 1 Tbsp The Chai Box All Chai’d Up Tea Blend
  • 7 Tbsp (99g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (227g) whole milk
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 3 ½ cups (420g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt

Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Filling:

  • 2 cups (284g) almonds, toasted
  • ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • ½ to 1 cup (114g to 227g) whole milk

Finishing Touches:

  • ½ to 1 cup (114g to 227g) heavy cream
  • confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Grind chai blend in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle until fine. Set aside.
  2. In a small pot over medium-low heat, melt butter. Mix in milk, heating until lukewarm (110–115°F).
  3. In a small bowl, mix together 2–3 tablespoons of lukewarm dairy mixture and yeast. Mix well and leave undisturbed for about 10 minutes until the mixture gets a little foamy.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together egg and sugar. Add dairy mixture and yeast mixture, stirring until incorporated.
  5. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and ground chai blend, then work dough together with a wooden spoon.
  6. Tip dough out onto a clean work surface and knead until it is smooth.
    NOTE: If you slice into the dough with a sharp knife and see small air bubbles throughout the dough, then the dough has been kneaded enough.
  7. Form dough into a ball, then place back in mixing bowl. Cover bowl with beeswax wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Place bowl in a warm, dry spot and leave undisturbed for 45–60 minutes or until dough has doubled in bulk.
  8. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  9. Once dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down to release excess gas build-up.
  10. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. (We recommend weighing your dough—instead of eyeballing it—so that you can create truly equal rolls.)
  11. Form dough pieces into rolls.
    NOTE: If this is your first time making rolls, we highly recommend watching Certified Master Baker Jeffrey Hamelman’s technique.
  12. Evenly space out rolls on baking sheets. Cover lightly with cling film and allow to proof for 30–45 minutes.
  13. Set one oven rack in upper third and another in the lower third of the oven. Heat oven to 400°F.
  14. After the second proof, lightly brush rolls with beaten egg.
  15. Bake for 10–15 minutes or until golden brown.
    NOTE: Don’t forget to swap the baking sheets halfway through the bake time.
  16. Transfer rolls to wire racks and allow to cool completely.
  17. Place metal mixing bowl and whisk attachment in freezer.
  18. Once your buns are totally cool, cut a triangular “lid” off of each bun using sharp kitchen shears or paring knife. Hollow out the bun with your fingers, placing all crumbs into a large bowl. (The crumbs will be used in the filling.)
    NOTE: This video from Camilla Hamid shows this process much more clearly than we could ever explain in words!
  19. To continue making the filling, place toasted almonds, sugar, and almond extract into the bowl of a food processor. Blitz until almonds are finely ground and mixture is starting to stick together.
  20. Transfer to bowl containing bun crumbs, mixing until thoroughly combined.
  21. Add milk a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Your filling should be thick and smooth. (Don’t dump all the milk in at once or your filling may end up too runny.)
  22. Using a spoon, fill buns with almond mixture.
  23. In the chilly bowl of a stand mixer fitted with cold whisk attachment, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks begin to form.
  24. With a large star tip, pipe whipped cream onto buns. Top each bun with its lid (AKA hat! 😄). Dust with confectioners’ sugar and enjoy immediately!
    NOTE: Semlor are tastiest when they are freshly constructed. If you aren’t going to eat the whole dozen today, refrigerate or freeze the extra, uncut, unfilled buns. Then—when the mood strikes you—prepare fresh filling and whipped cream for a new batch of semlor with your already baked buns.

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