Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Chocolate lenten buns (semlor recipe)
Today is Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday in many parts of the world, but Estonians and Scandinavians are celebrating lenten bun day or semla day instead. I've been baking my own semla buns for umpteen years now and even shared two of the recipes with you - perfect simple buns and decadent lenten buns with marzipan and raspberries. I've just finished baking a batch of the former and will be stuffing them with lots of creme chantilly once the buns are cool enough. Cannot wait to devour them!!!
However, last year I also tried dark lenten buns, inspired by a recipe in a Finnish food magazine Ruokamaailma. There's chocolate everywhere - in the yeast dough, in the whipped cream, in the marzipan filling, so if you're into chocolate, you'll love this. I'd happily make them again (photos here are from February 2010), but I think I'd skip the marzipan-chocolate filling step completely.
Chocolate semlor recipe
Makes about 16 buns
Dark yeast dough:
350 g plain/all-purpose flour
50 g caster sugar
0.5 tsp fine salt
35 g Dutch-processed cocoa powder (75 ml/5 Tbsp)
one sachet of fast-acting instant yeast
75 g butter, softened
250 ml lukewarm milk (one cup)
egg, for brushing
50 g dark chocolate
75 g marzipan
Cocoa Creme Chantilly:
200 ml whipping cream
1 Tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 Tbsp caster sugar
icing sugar/confectioner's sugar, for dusting
Mix flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt and dry yeast in a large bowl. Add the butter and using your fingers, work it into the flour mixture.
Pour in the milk and work the mixture into a nice yeast dough that doesn't stick to your hands and the bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen cloth or clingfilm and place into a warm and draught-free place to rise. Leave until doubled in size:
Knead the dough lightly, then roll into a large 'sausage' and divide into about 16 equal-sized chunks:
Roll into small round balls, place onto a cooking sheet and leave to rise for another 15 minutes.
Now brush with a beaten egg wash and bake in a preheated 220 C/430 F oven for about 15 minutes, until the buns are nicely cooked. Transfer onto a metal rack to cool, and cover with a kitchen towel (this keeps the buns soft and moist).
Cut a top off each lenten bun.
If you are making the marzipan and chocolate filling, then scoop out about a heaped teaspoonful of the bun. Melt the chocolate, add finely chopped marzipan and the scooped-out bun parts and combine. Distribute the mixture into the hollowed-out parts of the buns.
Combine sugar and cocoa powder in a mixing bowl. Add the cream and whisk until thick and fluffy. Spoon onto the filled buns and top with the cut-off slices of buns. Dust with icing sugar and serve.